Full circle: Kevin Myers takes the rap and offers full contrition

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”.

‘Foolish remark’

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.”

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  • Nevin
  • Hugh Davison

    Brian, this is your fourth post about Kevin Myers. Is there something wrong?

  • Nordie Northsider

    I’m treading a thin line here, given Slugger’s admirable conventions on playing the ball not the man, but since personal judgement is at the core of this sorry business I don’t believe it’s spiteful to point out that, even in apologetic mode, Myers indulges in a melodramatic display that brings everything back to himself. It’s all so very grandiose: “I am the author of my own misery, I am the master of my soul, the author of my own misfortune…” Quite the frustrated (nineteenth-century) novelist.
    Maybe the real story here is how such an ego could have been nurtured for so long?

  • the rich get richer

    He is still not as funny as Mike Myers…..

    But he is trying………..

  • Zack E. Nolan 2

    But has he said anything that is factually untrue?

  • ted hagan

    I remember Myers being similarly contrite after his Irishman’s Diary piece in the Irish Times in which had written: “How many girls – and we’re largely talking about teenagers here – consciously embark upon a career of mothering bastards because it seems a good way of getting money and accommodation from the State? Ah. You didn’t like the term bastard? No, I didn’t think you would.”
    He then issued an unconditional apology and also said he genuinely didn’t mean to offend anyone.
    Like hell.
    He’s not only practised in the art of insults, he’s also seems have his apologies primed and ready for the fallout he provokes. He’s a scoundrel.
    Good riddance.

  • Granni Trixie

    He has acknowledged he exercised bad judgement as regards how he spoke of Jewish people/women and has apologised for that. But I had a bit of a boke bag moment when I see that he now says how much he admires them as ” the most gifted people on the planet” etc. He’s still essentialising!

    And clearly he still doesn’t get why he comes across as misogynistic.

  • Granni Trixie

    The fuss is about attitudes and opinions not facts.

  • Surveyor

    I’m given to believe he regularly gives the Shinners a good kicking? No wonder Slugger is so keen to redeem him then.

  • aquifer

    Definitely a front stabber, and usually pretty good at it. Safer than the other sort.

  • Jag

    “Myers said he was a great admirer of Jewish people. “They are the most gifted people on the planet. ”

    “Most gifted”?

    Hahaha. But I suppose, when you’re that deep in a hole, you have to overcompensate.

    Speaking of overcompensation, describing Myers as “vile” and “monstrous” debases language. What terms will we use when the Israelis use white phosphorous to wipe out Palestinian babies.

  • aquifer

    Myers opposes most of the extremist cults that lead young men astray, and by opposing them, equates them, which they clearly detest. The man endangers widespread public delusions, so must be deposed.

  • Jag

    “It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul. ”

    Quick someone, get up and lift poor Kev off that cross!

  • Jag

    It’s really the stereotyping and the outing of people as Jewish that allowed the beachhead penetration. After that, the misogynism, right-wing, KatieHopkinsesqueness, anti-immigrant, anti-gypsy, anti-social welfare positions allowed for a full body attack on the man. But without the Jewish stereotyping, there wouldn’t have been that initial beachhead.

  • Granni Trixie

    I tend to stick up for people in ‘my tribe’
    – those who are thran – but Myers is forcing a rethink.

  • Granni Trixie

    A fine bromance?

  • whatif1984true

    .

    a person born of parents not married to each other.
    synonyms:illegitimate child, child born out of wedlock

  • whatif1984true

    His apology speaks volumes about who he is.

  • whatif1984true

    Stabbing is stabbing.

  • leoinlisbon

    In today’s Irish Times, there is an article by Kathy Sheridan – about whom I know nothing.
    It details why she dislikes Kevin Myers.
    So far, so straight forward.
    However, in the article she refers to Boris Johnson who – as a Telegraph journalist in the 1990s – ‘almost single handedly shaped the toxic British view of the European Union.’
    This statement is absurd. However, it fits in with a narrative of anti-EU beliefs in the UK being created by a few right wing journalists, whom millions of voters stupidly believe and follow.
    Kevin Myers has been sacked. The problem of bad journalism in the Irish Republic remains.

  • Jim M

    And your point is??? There are many different words for things. Some of them, you’d be happy to have used to describe your family. Some other words, not so much. Clearly Myers has a long track record of being derogatory for the hell of it.

  • Brian Walker

    Sometimes the man is the ball and is a a very proper rule against trolling. But you have to kick with a fairness that Kevin confesses he doesn’t always take.

  • whatif1984true

    You and others judged and decided what the meaning of the word was in Myers mouth. Calling someone a bastard is derogatory in society but it is a correct term. His use of the word got your attention in the way that all newspaper and media people use words to get your attention.

  • Granni Trixie

    And the “full contrition” he offers to Jewish people does not appear to extend to the rest of us insulted by his attitude to women. .

  • It doesn’t really sound any better if you remove the word bastard.

  • Gary Thompson

    About 15 years ago he wrote an article where he assessed gay men who had engaged in unprotected sex and contracted the HIV virus as ‘suicide bummers’. It was probably meant to be humorous and most likely got a giggle in some quarters but I tried to imagine how a recently diagnosed frightened young man might feel having read such comments in what would have been regarded as the mainstream respectable press? Such cruel assertions can have a devastating effect on vulnerable individuals so I must admit to having little sympathy for his current predicament. Given all the years he has spent vilifying and insulting individuals across a wide spectrum of society and getting away with it, it seems he has eventually hung himself on the end of a very long rope.

  • Jim M

    So it’s more important to you that we not mind Myers using antiquated and derogatory terms for children born out of wedlock, than that Myers be a good journalist. Okay…

  • Granni Trixie

    And used to be you were prohibited from being A priest if you were ‘illigimate’ (sins of the fathers and mothers…)
    As for parents not married to each other – this has almost become a norm nowadays.

  • Hugh Davison

    One wonders 🙂

  • Jeremy Cooke

    Do you mean his offence was to seem to hold certain attitudes and opinions, or that he published them?

  • Granni Trixie

    Mmmmm…distinguishing between the two is more difficult than I expected: People can think whatever they like with impunity but when that thinking goes into the public domain it is subject to scrutiny and can attract criticism as in present case. KM does not appear to be breaking incitement to hatred law but is paying a price socially and materially for having crossed a line in many people’s eyes.
    (sorry not to have satisfactorily answered your question – I’m still thinking about it).

  • Zack E. Nolan 2

    But has he said anything that’s factually inaccurate?

    He is one of the few in the Irish Republic who gets how badly Unionists have been treated so I like him.

  • Granni Trixie

    And he often called out the IRA for what it was and did – but that is beside the point – we are taking now about where he is totally in the wrong.

  • Zack E. Nolan 2

    You don’t think it odd that members of a small religious group seem over represented and over paid when compared to their peers in the media?

  • Granni Trixie

    In the case of CW I immediately thought that her family being well connected especially her mother meant that she had the advantage of knowing the system and how to play it. However the most significant thing that stands up in capital letters Is the overall lack of equal pay for work of equal value which appears to prevail.
    I was not aware of CW religious background before this eruption brought it to our attention though Vanessa Feltz background makes hers well known.

    But I can honestly say it never occurred to me that it’s odd that these two particular women are nearly earning as much as many of their male peers.

  • whatif1984true

    I think that is the point, possibly, more children are born bastards now than not. We do not regard it as bad or abnormal but the word bastard is still regarded as offensive even though it applies to the majority of under20’s? The argument is emotional.
    It can be either regarded as myers being outrageously offensive or just telling us to wise up the word has lost its meaning unless of course we want it to retain its offensiveness.

  • whatif1984true

    I don’t rate his apology, to me its like the “my best friends are black” type of comment. I doubt the sincerity.

  • whatif1984true

    The fuss is being created by the readers not the writer.

  • whatif1984true

    Over represented is wrong. Minorities always are in large numbers in the trades they are ALLOWED in historically. Catholic publicans and bookies for instance.

  • Zack E. Nolan 2

    Do you not think it’s odd that Feltz gets that amount? There are a lot more deserving women at the Beeb. Derbyshire for one.

  • Granni Trixie

    No more odd than the whole ridiculous system. It clearly reveals too that there is not a level playing field for women.

  • Zack E. Nolan 2

    Can you provide evidence of any profession which has a level playing field for all groups?

    The Northern Ireland legal top tiers seem bereft of Protestants and full of Roman Catholics.

  • Granni Trixie

    Give me a break!