Wednesday 13 November 2019

WATCH: 'I don't care to give him the oxygen of any more publicity' - Vanessa Feltz was 'horrified' by Kevin Myers' column

Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Vanessa Feltz has revealed she was "horrified" by comments journalist Kevin Myers made about her in his Sunday Times column.

In the column, 'Sorry ladies - equal pay has to be earned' which ran in the Irish edition of newspaper and online in July, he made anti-Semitic and sexist comment.

These included arguing that men earn more because they work harder and commenting on the fact that the BBC's highest paid female presenters Feltz and Claudia Winkleman are Jewish.

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“Good for them. Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity,” he wrote.

He was subsequently fired following backlash.

Feltz has revealed she was "horrified" by the column.  Speaking on the Late Late Show she said it was "one of those articles designed to provoke and irritate an aggravate".

"It said women probably deserve to get paid less than mess because they are less charismatic, work less hard, and [men] throw fewer sickies," she continued.

"Oh do me a favour!  Hasn't he ever heard of man flu?  We know that men wilt at the very first hurdle and women soldier on through our monthly trials and natural childbirth and hot flushes."

She then addressed his comments on salaries, particularly her salary and that of fellow presenter Winkleman.

"I read into that all sorts of deeply unpleasant stereotypes or sort of anti-Semitic literature and thought about Jewish people which I don't care to repeat actually because they're so deeply distasteful to me and I'm quite sure to everybody else.

"I was pretty horrified to see that obviously."

Feltz revealed that she received a phonecall from the editor of the British edition of The Sunday Times by lunchtime that day.

"He said he was most terribly sorry and saying he just couldn't imagine how it had happened," she revealed. 

"[He said] the services of this person of whom I had never heard before and of whom I try never to think about at all now, I don't really want to discuss him, I don't know him and I don't care to give him the oxygen of any more publicity but they said they would not require his services at The Sunday Times anymore."

Feltz said she also received a letter of apology from the editor of the Irish edition.

Asked if she would accept an apology from Myers himself, she said, "From what I have heard he said what he said was a 'throwaway line'.  I don't understand how, in an 800 word column, any word that you choose can be throwaway.

"You choose to put it in.  It's not like anyone else is dictating, it's not like having a whispered conversation on a bus or gossiping with your mum in the kitchen.  You can't throw away a line in a national newspaper column, can you ?"

The broadcaster also revealed that just four days prior to the column she had bought a house in Ballycotton, Cork.

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