UPDATE: A virtual press conference for Jeremy Clarkson’s Amazon Prime Video series “Clarkson’s Farm” that was set to take place on Tuesday morning has been called off.
The event — which was scheduled before the presenter’s column about Meghan Markle was published in British tabloid The Sun in December — had still been on the cards in recent weeks, despite the ensuing controversy. However, it was canceled at 6 pm UK time on Monday, hours after Clarkson posted a fresh apology on Instagram, and Variety reported that Prime Video was set to part ways with the controversial figure.
EARLIER: Amazon Prime Video is likely to be parting ways with Jeremy Clarkson mere weeks after his comments about Meghan Markle were published in British tabloid The Sun.
Sources tell Variety that the streaming service won’t be working with Clarkson beyond seasons of “The Grand Tour” and “Clarkson’s Farm” that have already been commissioned. This means that the notorious “Top Gear” presenter likely won’t be appearing in any new shows on Prime Video beyond 2024 (although there’s every chance a final “Grand Tour” episode could carry over into 2025).
Prime Video already has a number of shows in the works with Clarkson, which are going to go ahead, but the decision effectively means that “Clarkson’s Farm” will end with Season 3 (expected in 2024). It also means that motoring format “The Grand Tour,” one of Prime Video’s biggest shows, will also come to an end. Variety understands the series will conclude after four more special episodes — the last of which is expected to land in late 2024.
Prime Video declined to comment on this story.
Although the streamer didn’t make any public comment when Clarkson’s vitriolic column made international headlines in December, it’s clear the company was deeply unhappy behind the scenes. In a fresh apology made by Clarkson on Monday, he says the streamer was “incandescent” about his tirade against Markle and Prince Harry.
In a lengthy statement posted to his official Instagram on Monday afternoon, Clarkson says, “I really am sorry. All the way from the balls of my feet to the follicles on my head. This is me putting my hands up. It’s a mea culpa with bells on.”
The extensive apology for his December comments — in which Clarkson suggested Markle be made to “parade naked” through Britain while people “throw lumps of excrement at her” — comes a day ahead of a planned press conference for “Clarkson’s Farm.” (The promotional event for Season 2 of the show, launching on Feb. 10, was scheduled just days prior to Clarkson’s comments.)
“Usually, I read what I’ve written to someone else before filing, but I was home alone on that fateful day, and in a hurry,” wrote Clarkson. “So when I’d finished, I just pressed send. And then, when the column appeared the next day, the land mine exploded.
“It was a slow rumble to start with and I ignored it. But then the rumble got louder. So I picked up a copy of The Sun to see what all the fuss was about. We’ve all been there, I guess. In that precise moment when we suddenly realize we’ve completely messed up. You are sweaty and cold at the same time. And your head pounds. And you feel sick. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Did I really say that? It was horrible.”
Clarkson also reveals in the statement that he emailed Markle and Prince Harry on Christmas morning to apologize to them. “I said I was baffled by what they had been saying on TV but that the language I’d used in my column was disgraceful and that I was profoundly sorry.”
In Clarkson’s Dec. 16 column, titled “One day, Harold the glove puppet will tell the truth about A Woman Talking B*ks,” the former “Top Gear” presenter wrote of Markle: “I hate her. Not like I hate [Scottish National Party leader] Nicola Sturgeon or [British serial killer] Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.”
He continued, referencing an infamous “Game of Thrones” scene involving Lena Headey’s Cersei: “At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her.”
In the column, which Clarkson writes weekly for The Sun, he also suggested that Prince Harry has no “control” over his actions anymore, largely thanks to Markle.
Speaking with ITV in a promotional interview for his top-selling memoir “Spare,” Harry said the column was “horrific, hurtful and cruel towards my wife. It also encourages other people around the UK and around the world, particularly men, to go and think that it’s acceptable to treat women that way.”
Clarkson issued a brief apology for his words on Dec. 19, saying he had “rather put my foot in it.”
“In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people,” Clarkson continued in a tweeted statement. “I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in the future.”
The Sun column became the Independent Press Standards Organization’s most complained-about article since its formation in 2014. It drew almost 21,000 complaints. The Sun also made a rare apology, one full week after the article was published.
While Clarkson will remain on Prime Video for another two years, a move not to renew any of the presenter’s shows for the service would be a bold statement by the streamer.
Prime Video swooped for the original “Top Gear” team in 2015 after the BBC cut ties with Clarkson after the host punched one of the show’s producers. The parting of ways with Clarkson and co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May came at a great cost to the BBC, for which “Top Gear” was worth more than £50 million per year, and brought in a massive global audience. The show has continued on the broadcaster with hosts Paddy McGuinness, Freddie Flintoff and Chris Harris.
Prime Video spun off “Top Gear” as “The Grand Tour,” which is now in its fifth and final season.