Graham Norton has said he quit writing for the Telegraph newspaper because he objected to the newspaper acting as a “mouthpiece for Boris Johnson” and its “toxic” political standpoint.
The 56-year-old chat show host penned an agony aunt column published in the Daily Telegraph’s Weekend supplement for 12 years before stepping down at the end of 2018.
Norton has now been quoted in The Guardian newspaper as saying: “When I signed up to be their agony aunt, I was aware that it was a rightwing paper and that didn’t bother me, but about a year before I left, it took a turn and there were some things in that paper about which I thought, ‘I cannot be contained within the same pages as this.’
“There was a piece defending Brett Kavanaugh and things president Trump had said about [Kavanaugh’s] accuser, and I just thought, ‘This is toxic.’ And I loved that job; I absolutely adored doing it, but ultimately I didn’t love it enough to be part of that stable.”
Norton added: “Another awful thing is the fact they were such a mouthpiece for Boris Johnson with no fact-checking at all... And when I found out how much they paid him – to do a weekly column he’s paid like a quarter-million a year, so I just thought, no.”
The comedian admitted he didn’t feel compelled to speak publicly about his own political opinions but that didn’t mean he didn’t have any. He added you wouldn’t have to be a “rocket scientist” to work out who he voted for.
Norton admitted he had been “saddened” to give up the column, but being associated with the newspaper was making him feel “nauseous”.
Read more: Is Graham Norton the real top earner at BBC?
The Irish presenter is said to have made the comments during promotional work for the BBC’s The Graham Norton Show. He said he had not given his reasons for resigning to the newspaper at the time, but now wanted to make clear why he had made the decision to step down.
A spokesperson for the Telegraph said: “Graham’s weekly column was widely enjoyed by our readers, and we wish him all the very best with his future plans.”
The Telegraph’s weekly advice column is now written by Richard Madeley.