Chris Whitty hounded by strangers in London's St James Park
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Jeremy Clarkson, 61, has questioned the furious response from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the men who harassed Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty. The young men were called “despicable thugs” by the Prime Minister before one of them lost his job as an estate agent and got charged with common assault.
Reacting to the news, the Clarkson’s Farm star admitted in his latest column: “I’m not sure this reaction is entirely fair.
“If you live your life in the public eye, you have to expect attention when you’re on the street.”
Jeremy went on to explain his reasoning, citing how things can “turn mildly physical” when he’s approached by eager fans.
He added: “If I walk past a building site, or a pub, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be surrounded almost immediately by a gang of young men shouting ‘One photo. One photo’.
“I could be on my way to a funeral. Or an important meeting. But it doesn’t matter.
“They never take ‘no’ for an answer and often, things turn mildly physical.
“It’s not thuggery, though. It’s just a group of usually good-natured lads, who want a picture.”
Jeremy went on to claim that as everyone under the age of 30 are dedicated to social media, that may have provoked the men to approach Professor Whitty in order to get more “likes” from their followers.
He argued: “These people see their life as a series of ten-second movies, and all of them are competing for an Oscar.
“That’s why Chris Whitty was accosted as he tried to walk down the street.
“I doubt they wanted to hurt him or humiliate him. They just wanted some footage which would make their Instagram account more interesting than Gaz’s and Shaz’s.
“And that doesn’t make them ‘despicable thugs’.
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“Certainly, I don’t see why someone should be sacked for being what? Young?” Jeremy concluded in his piece for The Sun.
It comes after Lewis Hughes, 24, was branded a “despicable thug” by the Prime Minister for manhandling the Chief Medical Officer in St James’ Park, central London.
Footage shared online shows Whitty trying to escape as Mr Hughes and another pal – Jonathan Chew – attempted to get him in a headlock.
It then emerged Mr Hughes had been fired as an estate agent as a result of the incident, according to Kent Live.
Hughes, from Romford, Essex, said: “I’ve paid the price with my job.
“I absolutely apologise for any upset I caused.
“If I made him feel uncomfortable, which it does look like I did, then I am sorry to him for that.
“He is quite a timid, shy person and I think that is why he didn’t say, ‘Get off me’. If he had said that and I had realised how he felt, I wouldn’t have put my arm round him.”
He said he had been hoping to get a selfie with Whitty to show to his mother, adding: “There was no malicious intent, I didn’t want to upset him.”
Mr Hughes’ friend Jonathan Chew, 24, told The Sun: “We didn’t cause any harm to him. We just wanted a selfie.”
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