Entertainment News

  • 2 May 2014, 19:14

Clarkson Racism Row: 10 Top Gear Gaffes

As Jeremy Clarkson "begs for forgiveness" over claims he used racist language, Sky News looks at past controversies on his show.

:: Lorry load of trouble over 'prostitute' claim (series 12, November 2008)

The BBC received hundreds of complaints after Clarkson joked about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.

"Change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder," he said. "That's a lot of effort in a day."

One MP called for Clarkson to be sacked but the BBC defended its presenter, saying viewers have "clear expectations" of his on-screen persona and humour.

:: Top Gear slammed over "vulgar" Mexico claims (series 16, December 2010)

A special episode of the show upset Mexicans by describing them as "lazy, feckless and flatulent" and branding their food "refried sick".

It claimed the Mexican ambassador to the UK would not complain as he was likely to be asleep.

In response, ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza wrote to the BBC, describing the comments as "outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable".

Ofcom found the BBC had not breached guidelines but the broadcaster admitted the language used had "reinforced" stereotypes.

:: "Slope" remark during Burma special (series 21, March 2014)

Clarkson was accused of using "casual racism" during a Top Gear special, 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."

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

:: Mock-Nazi salute sparks anger (series seven, November 2005)

Clarkson did little to strengthen Anglo-German relations when he made a mock-Nazi salute during a segment discussing a new Mini.

He also claimed the car's in-built navigation system "only goes to Poland".

German diplomats sternly pointed out that, had his salute been on German TV, he would have faced criminal charges and even a possible six-month prison term.

The BBC said it would be dealt with under its "rigorous" complaints procedure.

:: '"N-word"edited out of Top Gear broadcast' (series 19, February 2013)

Clarkson was accused by the Daily Mirror of using the "n-word"while filming an episode of the motoring show.

According to the paper, Clarkson "can 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.

The BBC launched an investigation into the episode, which was broadcast without the alleged comment.

:: Fallout from the top over India special (series 17, December 2011)

An Indian special, during which Clarkson built a toilet into the back of a Jaguar, claiming it would be "perfect" for tourists because "everyone" who visits the country suffers diarrhoea, sparked a complaint from the Indian High Commission.

It accused the show of "cheap jibes" and "tasteless humour", adding that it "lacked cultural sensitivity".

A BBC spokesman said it had not insulted Indian people or the country's culture.

:: Albanian man's 'murder' triggers complaints (series 16, February 2011)

Hundreds of people complained to the BBC after Top Gear aired a segment during which the presenters tried to squeeze an overweight Albanian man, who had ostensibly been murdered, into their boots of their cars.

The presenters pretended to have been sent to the country to test drive cars for a mafia boss.

:: Dead cow 'humour' angers viewers (series nine, February 2007)

During a one-off US special, Clarkson tied a dead cow to the roof of a Chevy Comaro before reversing the car and flinging the animal to the ground.

The stunt sparked complaints to both the BBC and Ofcom but the broadcaster insisted it was "very typical" of the show's "irreverent humour".

A spokesman added: "No offence was intended."

:: Botswana special leaves trail of controversy (series 10, November 2007)

Environmental campaigners claimed Top Gear had damaged Botswana's Makgadikgadi salt pan by blasting through it during a 2007 special.

They claimed tracks left by the team's vehicles would remain visible for decades.

However, the BBC said it was careful to avoid sensitive conservation zones.

:: Crash test damages villagers' tree (series three, November 2003)

The BBC was forced to hand over 250 to a parish council in Somerset after Clarkson damaged a horse chestnut tree while testing the strength of a Toyota Hilux.

Local people thought the damage had been caused by vandals until later recognising the tree on TV.

The show "unreservedly apologised".

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