Top Gear in Hot Water

Just last week he was on record as defending Andy Gray and Richard Keys for their offensive comments, and this week the focus is on Jeremy Clarkson again following his own derogatory comments about Mexico made on a recent episode of Top Gear.

The Top Gear presenters are in a pool of diplomatic hot water after a Mexican ambassador, having seen the footage of last Sunday’s episode, wrote a scathing letter of complaint to their BBC bosses. Within hours it was all over the internet.

Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora’s complaint stems from a piece in last Sunday’s programme in which the presenters reviewed a Mexican sports car and were less than complimentary about the car and the nation from whence it came.

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May made the controversial remarks whilst discussing a Mexican-made sports car. After some initial childish banter, presenter Richard Hammond went what could be considered to be a bit too far when saying: “Why would you want a Mexican car? Because cars reflect national characteristics don’t they… Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.”

To make matters worse, Jeremy Clarkson went on to say of the Mexican ambassador himself. “We won’t get any complaints about this because at the Mexican embassy the ambassador’s going to be sitting there with a remote control like this,” Clarkson said, slumping in the chair, snoring.

Not surprisingly, Mora has demanded the presenters apologise for their “outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults”. In his words: “The presenters of the program resorted to outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults to stir bigoted feelings against the Mexican people, their culture as well as their official representative in the United Kingdom. These offensive, xenophobic and humiliating remarks serve only to reinforce negative stereotypes and perpetuate prejudice against Mexico and its people.

“Although casual banter is an essential component of the program’s appeal, humour never justifies xenophobia. It is not a matter of taste but of basic principles.”

Just last week Clarkson had commented on the dismissal and resignation of Andy Gray and Richard Keys, admitting that “If that’s the new benchmark, the three of us would have been sacked probably 100 times for the things we’ve said. So would everyone. It’s baffling. It’s a very baffling, worrying time if I’m not allowed to say to Richard or James something on my mind for fear I could be sacked for it.”

It’s not quite on a par with the Sky Sports presenters’ comments, but it will be interesting to see how the Beeb, and indeed the presenters themselves manage the media relations for this one.

Gemma Carey, Bluewood Training – media and presentation training

www.bluewoodtraining.com

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