With the world still reeling from the news that Matt ‘Joey out of Friends’ LeBlanc is to join the Top Gear team comes this blindsider; Jeremy Clarkson has apparently walloped Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
The ‘news’ comes from motoring blog Race Factor, which is currently groaning under the weight of untold eyeballs, to the point that the post in question is only available in a cached form at the time of writing.
While neither Amazon, Bezos or Clarkson have come forward to clarify the situation, we’re skeptical for a few good reasons.
Firstly, the Race Factor post mentions that Clarkson had been removed from Amazon premises by Seattle police officers. There’s no mention of such an incident happening on the Seattle Police Department’s site or Twitter account.
Secondly, the incident allegedly came down to Clarkson taking issue with ‘Amazon’s strong politically correct stance’. Given how close Clarkson and the gang have sailed to the wind in the past, we can imagine that Amazon would have had at least one discussion with the presenter about modifying his approach, and that he’d listen if that was a dealbreaker in his contract negotiations.
At the same time, moving from traditional TV to a streaming platform liberates the writing teams from the constraints of broadcast codes. In other words, because there’s no TV watershed to worry about, Clarkson, Hammond and May can say as many fucks as they don’t give.
The cloud of acrimony under which Clarkson left the BBC means that if Amazon didn’t make some hay with this, by letting Jezza be a little looser with his behaviour, they’ll be missing a trick. We really can’t see Clarkson being so hamstrung by political correctness that he’d feel inclined to punch his boss.
Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, the money that Amazon has coughed up for Clarkson & Co is astronomical. Jeremy Clarkson has done some breathtakingly dumb things in the past, but punching the world’s fifth richest man, who also happens to be your paymaster? Is Jeremy Clarkson really that thick?
Update: Spokespeople for Amazon have reached out to us to confirm that the story is indeed false.