After raising hackles in the Indian government and among Indian-origin viewers for controversial remarks in the popular BBC show ‘Top Gear’, presenter Jeremy Clarkson has landed in a new row and now faces the sack if the offence is repeated.
In the popular car-based show on BBC, Clarkson drives around in various countries and interacts with local people, often making irreverent comments laced with British humour. Many viewers, including those of Indian origin, enjoy the programme, but not all share the fun.
In Top Gear’s unseen footage that emerged last week, Clarkson is heard chanting: “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe...” He then mumbles, “Catch a n***** by his toe.”
As another row swirled, Clarkson wrote that he has now been told by the BBC “very firmly” to apologise, and warned that he will be sacked if he makes “one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time”.
He wrote, “Apologising for using the n-word would be the same as apologising for starting the war in Syria. It’s something I hadn’t done…I use the f-word pretty much constantly and the c-word too, especially when I’m talking about James May. But the n-word? No. It’s not in my lexicon.”
In January 2012, Clarkson was acused of ridiculing India and its people in his programme shot in India, prompting a spate of complaints to the BBC, including from the Indian high commission, which wrote, “The programme was replete with cheap jibes, tasteless humour and lacked cultural sensitivity. This is not clearly what we expect of the BBC.”
In April, Clarkson and his team expressed regret when the show was accused by an Indian-origin actor Somi Guha of using another racist term in its March episode on Burma – ‘slope’ – which is considered a derogatory term for people of Asian origin.
During the 2012 row over its India-based programme, ‘Top Gear’ had insisted that it had not insulted India.
It said, “It’s simply not the case that we displayed a hostile or superior attitude to our hosts. We genuinely loved our time in India and if there were any jokes to be had they were, as ever, reflected back on the presenters rather than the Indian people”.