Kelvin MacKenzie has been suspended from The Sun after writing a column slating Scousers on the eve of the Hillsborough anniversary.
MacKenzie wrote a ‘racist’ comment piece comparing Ross Barkley, who has a Nigerian grandfather, to a gorilla and called the people of Liverpool ‘convicts and drug dealers’.
Bosses at parent company News UK admitted the views of their own columnist were “wrong” and “unfunny”.
Even after being suspended, MacKenzie, who is currently on holiday, lashed out at critics saying that it was “beyond parody” for anyone to describe his article as “racist”.
But his suspension was welcomed by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson who complained to Merseyside Police sparking an investigation into allegations of racial hate crime.
Mayor Anderson told the Echo: “The Sun just don’t get it.
“These were not ‘unfunny’ comments meant in jest – they were racist and offensive to the people of Liverpool.”
A News UK spokesman said: “The Sun’s columnist Kelvin MacKenzie has been suspended from the paper with immediate effect.
“The views expressed by Kelvin Mackenzie about the people of Liverpool were wrong, unfunny and are not the view of the paper.
“The Sun apologises for the offence caused.
“The paper was unaware of Ross Barkley’s heritage and there was never any slur intended.
“Mr Mackenzie is currently on holiday and the matter will be fully investigated on his return.”
Merseyside Police said it has received a complaint over the column where he appeared to compare Everton’s Ross Barkley to a gorilla.
In a section of Mr MacKenzie’s column titled “Here’s why they go ape at Ross”, the former editor wrote that Barkley’s eyes make him “certain not only are the lights not on, there is definitely nobody at home”, adding: “I get a similar feeling when seeing a gorilla at the zoo.”
There is also an image of a Gorilla posted next to a picture of the midfielder – who was attacked on a night out this week.
The England international has a Nigerian grandfather, which has led some to label the comments as racist.
The police investigation comes as a result of a complaint made by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson.
Blues fan Mayor Anderson confirmed that he has reported Kelvin MacKenzie to Merseyside Police for the “racist slur” and is contacting the independent press regulator (IPSO).
Read full Story here: Liverpool Echo