Sunday Times sacks columnist over “unacceptable” BBC pay column

Columnist Kevin Myers singled out high-profile BBC presenters Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, suggesting they had been paid more than their female colleagues more because they were Jewish

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The Sunday Times has sacked Kevin Myers, a journalist whose column in the Irish edition of the paper suggested that high-profile BBC presenters Claudia Winkelman and Vanessa Feltz were paid more than their female colleagues because they were Jewish. 

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Martin Ivens, the paper’s editor, apologised and admitted that the article should never have been published following a wave of criticism on social media, saying that Myer’s column was “unacceptable and should not have been published”. 

A spokesperson for the Sunday Times then confirmed that Myers had been let go.

“We can confirm that Kevin Myers will not write again for The Sunday Times Ireland. A printed apology will appear in next week’s paper,” the statement said.

The article, which follows the revelation earlier this month that over two thirds of BBC presenters earning over £150,000 per year are men, was published with the headline “Sorry ladies – equal pay has to be earned”.

The writer singled out the Strictly Come Dancing host Winkleman and BBC radio presenter Feltz. It read: “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.”

Speaking on her BBC Radio London breakfast show, Vanessa Feltz said that she was “extremely upset” by Myers’ column, and described it as “so obviously racist it’s surprisingly hurtful.”

She went on to question the paper’s decision to publish the piece in the first place, adding that Ivens had personally called her to apologise.

The apologies are all very well, but how did it end up in the paper in the first place?” she asked. 

Feltz expressed to the editor that she couldn’t understand how the article had been published after making it through “layers of command”. 

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The article, published in the Irish edition of the newspaper and online, was taken down on Sunday following a formal complaint from the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism to press regulator IPSO.