Press release: Samaritans' comment on Jeremy Clarkson's Sun column

Reacting to Jeremy Clarkson’s comments in today’s Sun newspaper, Catherine Johnstone, Samaritans’ Chief Executive said:

“The insensitivity of Jeremy Clarkson’s comments in his Sun column today about people who die by suicide on the railways truly beggars belief. While purporting to express sympathy for people who die this way, his remarks about their bodies constitute gross intrusion into the grief and shock of bereaved families and friends.

“His notion that suicide is a selfish act shows how little he knows about the subject because, if he did, he would know that when a person attempts suicide they are so distressed that they genuinely believe their families will be better off without them. The concept that their actions could be construed as selfish is the furthest thing from their mind. Fortunately, most of us will never experience the mental torture that leads someone to die by suicide.

“Furthermore, if Jeremy Clarkson knew anything about suicide he would also know that insensitive media coverage of the subject could trigger so-called ‘imitational’ deaths. The fact that he has chosen to add fuel to the flames of the comments he made earlier this week on the BBC One Show again beggars belief. It’s one thing to joke about people on strike, it’s in an entirely different realm of poor taste to joke about suicide.

“We have already made a complaint to Ofcom about his remarks on the One Show and we will now be taking up today’s comments with the Press Complaints Commission.

“We want remind anyone who has been distressed by Clarkson’s comments today that Samaritans’ volunteers are on hand 24/7 on 116 123 to offer support.”

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In January 2010, Samaritans launched a five-year partnership with Network Rail to reduce suicides on the railways.

Listen to train driver Paul Trigwell talking about his experience of a rail suicide and the partnership between Samaritans and Network Rail

For advice on how to report this story sensitively see Samaritans' Media Guidelines

Samaritans’ out-of-hours press phone number is 07943 809162