Tuesday 17 July 2018

Press Ombudsman to rule on sacked 'Sunday Times' columnist Kevin Myers 'in weeks'

Journalist and author Kevin Myers was sacked by the ‘Sunday Times’ after the publication of his column. Photo: Tony Gavin
Journalist and author Kevin Myers was sacked by the ‘Sunday Times’ after the publication of his column. Photo: Tony Gavin

Alan O'Keeffe

It will be several weeks before the Press Ombudsman issues a decision on complaints made about the sacked 'Sunday Times' columnist Kevin Myers.

The Ombudsman, Peter Feeney, said the newspaper's editor must be given two weeks to respond to complaints before the matter can be even considered by his office.

Several complainants claimed that the columnist's remarks on the gender pay gap issue last Sunday were offensive to women and Jewish people.

The newspaper issued an apology and sacked Mr Myers.

Mr Myers himself apologised unconditionally to the two Jewish BBC presenters whom he mentioned in his column.

He had referred to their Jewish faith, stating that Jews were "not generally known for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest-possible price".

Complaints

Mr Feeney told the Irish Independent that one-third of the people who had contacted his office were complaining about the columnist being fired by the 'Sunday Times'.

The other 11 complained that his remarks were anti-semitic, misogynistic or both.

"I can't make a decision until I hear both sides. That's several weeks down the road," he said.

An internal review was initiated in the 'Sunday Times' this week into how the column came to be published.

A spokeswoman said that the Ireland editor Frank Fitzgibbon was working as usual on this weekend's edition.

Mr Fitzgibbon and his deputy, associate editor John Burns, were among those spoken to by a senior executive from London as part of the review.

Contacted last night, Mr Myers said he would not be making any further comment.

Meanwhile, Seth Barrett Tillman, a law lecturer at NUI Maynooth who is Jewish, told RTÉ Radio's Seán O'Rourke he personally believed that Mr Myers had been "railroaded", adding that he didn't believe the piece was anti-semitic, nor was it "intended to be hurtful".

Irish Independent

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