Mail columnist Letts apologises for mocking Marr’s disability
9 May 2016
- From the section Entertainment & Arts
Political sketch writer Quentin Letts has apologised for an article he wrote mocking the disability of broadcaster Andrew Marr.
In a Daily Mail review of the new Robert Peston show on ITV, Letts described Marr as “Captain-Hop-Along, growling away on BBC One, throwing his arm about like a tipsy conductor”.
Marr had a stroke in January 2013.
Letts tweeted his apology after an article from media commentator Roy Greenslade appeared in the Guardian.
Greenslade said in his article, called It isn’t Funny or Smart for Quentin Letts to Poke Fun at Andrew Marr: “I don’t want to come off all namby-pamby.
“I understand that no-one should be beyond criticism and that Letts was exercising his right to press freedom.
“But really Quentin, that was a graceless remark.”
He then called for Letts to apologise.
Letts took to Twitter, saying: “I fear my sketch reference to the admirable Marr today was horrid. Apologies to all concerned and upset”. His tweet was met with comments below it calling him “utterly disgraceful” and “appalling”.
The article appeared in both the print copy of the newspaper and its online version.
Marr’s wife, journalist Jackie Ashley, tweeted about Letts’ article: saying: “What a great signal to disabled people: Quentin Letts mocks my husband for being disabled following a stroke”.
The Stroke Association said: “A stroke is not a joke. Stroke survivors deserve our respect and support, and Andrew Marr deserves an apology”, before encouraging people make complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.
In a statement to the BBC, the Independent Press Standards Organisation said: “we have received a total of 11 complaints about the article.
“All of the complaints are under Clause 12 (Discrimination), with one or two also citing Clause 1 (Accuracy) or Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock).
“It is IPSO policy not to comment on the identity of individual complainants, so I am unable to confirm the names of anyone who has contacted us on this article.”
Robert Peston’s new ITV Sunday politics talk show had received lukewarm reviews following its debut this weekend.
Letts reviewed Peston’s programme as “breathless and batty – and bound to be a hit”.
Source: BBC Entertainment