But Kevin is right: editors should edit and take responsibility for all copy. What more is there to say? Except that I hope he has a good pension plan.
In his first comments on the issue, Myers said he believed “five or six” people would have seen the copy before it went to press.
“I am the author of my own misery, I am the master of my soul, the author of my own misfortune. I must answer for what I’ve done. I must do nothing to bring ruin to others,” he said. “I don’t want anyone else to lose their livelihood. Enough misery has been caused.”
Myers said he heard about his sacking “after everyone else” and that he had received a phone call from the Dublin office of the Sunday Times to say his column had caused “online uproar”.
He said he was surprised and subsequently received a text message asking him to call the London office. When he did so he was told “this is where we part company, you won’t be writing for us again”’
“Everyone nods. Homer nods. A number of people nodded for it to get through.”
Myers said he was a great admirer of Jewish people. “They are the most gifted people on the planet. Civilisation owes them a great debt. They have a wonderful sense of dignity and self worth.”
The Jewish Representative Council in Ireland came to his defence, saying that branding Kevin Myers as either an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier was “an absolute distortion of the facts”.
He said that the only way that self-worth could be expressed in the celebrity world was by how much they were paid. “It was a foolish remark. I didn’t think about it, as I so often do. It was a throw away line, it was trivial. It wasn’t personalised, it was intended out of respect.”
On Sunday at the West Cork History festival he knew he would be meeting Rabbi Julia Neuberger and he thought they could have a joke about his column. “That shows how stupid I was,” he said. “I told her what I’d done and she said I was wrong. I might have sounded anti-Semitic but I am not anti-Semitic.”
There are not the same sensitivities to anti-Semitism on this side of the Irish Sea, he said, which was why it went through. “We don’t have the antennae.”
He said he had forgotten that for Jews across the world there is greater sensitivity to anti-Semitism with armed guard required at synagogues.
“I am taking responsibility for what I did. Enough misery has been caused. Lots of people like a purge, a witch hunt.”
On the claim that his comments were also misogynistic, he said he was a critic of political feminism and believed that men and women behaved very differently as they had different urges. “None of us is equal to each other.”
“If I thought women were inferior, I’d be an idiot. I have a weakness for facile terminology. I’m not an unpleasant person.”
Myers said he had apologised to Feltz and Winkleman.
From the Guardian version
Myers said on RTE radio on Tuesday: “My Jewish audience will understand that I am a great admirer of Jewish people, I think they are the most gifted people who have ever existed on this planet and civilisation owes an enormous debt to them.
“One of the great qualities about them is their sense of dignity and self-worth, the only way that can be expressed in the world of celebrity is getting the right financial package, you don’t know how long celebrity is going to last.
“I foolishly referred to their religion as being a motivator. Actually there is a good article to be had about that but it’s not to be done in a throwaway line that will not be understood.
“It was stupid of me, the encapsulation of such a complex issue in a single sentence … one of my flaws is to deal with major issues with throwaway lines,” he said.
“I really mean this because I am not rescuing anything – it is over for me professionally as far as I can see – I am very, very sorry that I should have so offended them,” he said. “I do utter an apology, not for any reason other than out of genuine contrition for the hurt I had caused them.”
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London