Sunday Times sacks Irish columnist after anti-Semitism row

Kevin Myers pointed out in his Sunday Times column that Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman, the highest-paid females at the BBC, were both Jewish
Kevin Myers pointed out in his Sunday Times column that Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman, the highest-paid females at the BBC, were both Jewish

Sunday Times Ireland columnist Kevin Myers will not write again for the paper, a spokesman has said.

The newspaper said it abhorred anti-Semitism after Mr Myers noted that two of the best-paid female presenters at the BBC, Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, were Jewish in an article on the corporation’s gender pay gap.

Vanessa Feltz

Vanessa Feltz

Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens has apologised personally to the two women for these “unacceptable comments both to Jewish people and to women in the workplace”.

A spokesperson said: “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.”

Mr Ivens said the article was unacceptable.

Claudia Winkleman

Claudia Winkleman

“It has been taken down and we sincerely apologise, both for the remarks and the error of judgment that led to publication.”

Mr Myers has been an outspoken commentator for a range of newspapers in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland for many years.

His comments about Ms Winkleman and Ms Feltz in yesterday’s edition prompted a backlash on social media.

He had written: “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.”

As part of his article on the pay gap, Mr Myers also argued that men usually work harder, get sick less frequently and seldom get pregnant.

Frank Fitzgibbon, editor of the Sunday Times Ireland, said the column contained views that have caused considerable distress and upset to a number of people.

“As the editor of the Ireland edition, I take full responsibility for this error of judgment.

“This newspaper abhors anti-Semitism and did not intend to cause offence to Jewish people.”

Last week, documents setting out the pay for BBC staff on more than £150,000 showed a sizeable gap in the earnings of the corporation’s best-known male and female presenters and actors.

Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans topped the list on more than £2 million, while the highest-paid woman was Ms Winkleman on between £450,000 and £499,999.