Motormouth Jeremy Clarkson's series of gaffes against India and others

  • Siladitya Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 11, 2015 18:59 IST

Jeremy Clarkson, the outspoken British presenter of the Top Gear motoring show, has been suspended by the BBC after he was involved in a "fracas" with a producer.

Clarkson, who has generated both controversy and profits for Britain's publicly funded broadcaster, was already on a final warning over accusations last year that he had used racist language while filming the show.

Here are the 6 biggest controversies involving Clarkson:

1. Jaguar with toilets for India

Clarkson and the Top Gear crew raised a major furore during the Top Gear India Special in 2011 when the TV host built a toilet into the back of a Jaguar, claiming it would be "perfect" for tourists because "everyone" who visits the country gets diarrhoea. The incident sparked complaints from the Indian high commission which accused the show of "cheap jibes" and "tasteless humour" adding that it "lacked cultural sensitivity".

2. Mexican food jibe

An episode of the the show's 2010 season shot in Mexico upset the locals as co-host Richard Hammond described them as "lazy, feckless and flatulent" and Clarkson branded their food "refried sick (vomit)". And to make things worse Clarkson added that the Mexican ambassador to the UK would not complain as he was probably asleep. In response, ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza wrote to the BBC describing the comments as "outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable".

3. Falklands number plate

While shooting an episode of the show in Argentina in 2014 the cast and crew of Top Gear had to flee Argentina after they were pelted with stones by a crowd incensed that one of their vehicles had a number plate that appeared to refer to the 1982 Falklands War. A Porsche 928, with the number plate H982 FKL, driven by Clarkson caused the controversy.

4. Burmese racial remark

Clarkson was accused of using "casual racism" during a Top Gear special in 2014, during which he and his co-presenters built a bridge over a Burmese river. As a man walked across the bridge, Clarkson said: "That's a proud moment but there's a 'slope' on it." According to Urban Dictionary the word slope is a derogatory term used to describe a Vietnamese/Asian person.

A BBC spokesperson later said the show was not aware the word "slope" was considered to be offensive by some and insisted it was used to make a "light-hearted wordplay joke".

5. Mock Nazi salute

In the 2005 season of the show, Clarkson made a mock Nazi salute during a segment discussing a new Mini (a iconic British car brand now owned by German car maker BMW). He further aggravated things by claiming that the car's in-built navigation system "only goes to Poland".

German diplomats were outraged and pointed out that had his salute been on German TV he would have faced a six-month prison term.

6. N-word

Clarkson was accused by British tabloid the Daily Mirror of using the "N-word" while filming an episode of the show in 2013. The paper claimed, Clarkson could be heard chanting, 'Eeny, meeny, miny moe...', before mumbling 'Catch a n****r by his toe'. Clarkson responded by saying he was "horrified" by the allegations.

(With agency inputs)

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