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Jeremy Clarkson blames Twitter and The Sunday Times paywall for LGBT comments backlash


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

February 1, 2016 | 3 min read

Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson claimed it is Twitter’s fault the LGBT community revolted in response to comments he made on transgender issues in his Sunday Times column.

Clarkson’s Sunday Times column on transgender issues mobilised the LGBT community and supporters on Twitter who were none-too-pleased with the tone of the article.

Clarkson cited the Sunday Times paywall, tempered with incomplete coverage from other media outlets, as the source of the backlash.

Comments such as the following paragraph angered many readers: “As far as I was concerned, men who want to be women were only really to be found on the internet or in the seedier bits of Bangkok. They were called ladyboys, and in my mind they were nothing more than the punchline in a stag night anecdote."

However, the final two paragraphs in the Sunday Times article were reportedly unmentioned in the Mirror’s coverage.

Clarkson argues that the conclusion would have tempered many readers had they been able to access it through the paywall, instead of relying upon secondhand retellings.

It read: “Let’s just say for a moment that one in 1,000 are transgender. Or one in 100,000. Or even that it’s actually just one. Let’s say that there is one person out there who is a woman living in a man’s body, or the other way around.

“I started to imagine what life might be like for the poor soul. It would be dreadful. Absolutely awful. And all they seem to want to make their life better is a third gender option box on official documents. That’s not really the end of the world for everyone else, is it?”

On the issue, Business Insider quotes him as saying: “As is the way with modern media, the story spread rapidly, until by lunchtime Twitter had accepted it as fact and then carpet-bombed my phone with abuse”.

He concluded that Twitter is a “good idea” but is “policed by the Staasi,” whose outrage saw multiple media organisations add to the incident by running “a story saying, ‘Twitter has reacted with fury…”

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