Sun columnist (and former editor) Kelvin MacKenzie is to quit the tabloid for good after being suspended for comparing a mixed-race footballer to a gorilla in an article last month.
The 70-year-old industry veteran is no stranger to controversy but his latest remarks appear to have been the final straw for The Sun, which was forced to issue an apology to both Everton Football Club and Ross Barkley over the incident.
Keen to move on from the episode publisher News UK is understood to be negotiating terms for an amicable departure amidst fears that MacKenzie has become a loose cannon at odds with today’s media environment – exacerbated by comments made to the New York Times in which he said ‘Jeremy Corbyn knifed to death by an asylum seeker’ would be an excellent fake news headline.
Whatever the present furore MacKenzie will go down in the annals of history as the bogeyman of Liverpool fans owing to his front-page splash blaming victims of the Hillsborough disaster of drunkenness and violence.
Neither News UK nor MacKenzie have commented on the latest moves beyond confirming that he remains suspended, although the FT reports that chief executive Rebekah Brooks is leading the drive to push MacKenzie out.