Whether you’re white, black, Mexican or the BBC, no one is safe from ex-Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson. But what are his top insults? We rounded up up our favourites.
Love or hate Jeremy Clarkson, he has become an incredibly famous and wealthy man for speaking his mind in an amusing and inappropriate fashion; his reinvention of Top Gear with Andy Wilman propelling him to even greater stardom.
But just what have been his most cutting insults? Which one upset the biggest crowd? Were his alleged use of the ‘n-word’ and ‘slope’ steps too far? That depends on who you are and how sensitive your ears are.
One thing’s for sure, though – nobody is safe from his acerbic wit. Without further ado, here’s our rundown of what we think were his harshest insults.
11) BBC iPlayer: “…and that”
What better way to begin our round-up than with Clarkson’s subtle dig at the BBC, which removed him from Top Gear. In his advert for the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Clarkson aludes to his departure from Top Gear by saying he suddenly became ‘un-busy’. He then lists the channels available on the device, but BBC iPlayer appears on the screen his reaction is, shall we say, amusing.
10) Lorry Drivers: Prostitute murderers
After completing a task driving a lorry during an episode of Top Gear in late 2008, Clarkson joked that lorry drivers only care about fuel prices and killing prostitutes. He complained about the constant need to change gear, commenting: “Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That’s a lot of effort in a day.”
The comment is believed to be in reference to former trucker ‘Suffolk Strangler Steven Wright’, who murdered five prostitutes in Ipswich in 2006. After making the comment, the United Road Transport Union said they had been piled with complaints from 17,000 members.
9) Gordon Brown: “One-eyed Scottish idiot”
During a press conference about spin-off show Top Gear Live in Australia in 2009, Clarkson laid into Gordon Brown (who was Prime Minister at the time). He said to the audience: “[In the UK] we’ve got this one-eyed Scottish idiot, he keeps telling us everything’s fine and he’s saved the world and we know he’s lying, but he’s smooth at telling us.”
Immediately after making the comment, Clarkson laughed the situation off and said: “I said that out loud, didn’t I?” In the wake of a public backlash, Clarkson insisted he was sorry for making a joke about Brown’s nationality and appearance, but did not apologise for calling him an idiot. At least he’s no liar.
8) The Welsh language: What’s the point of it?
In 2011, Clarkson wrote in his weekly newspaper column for The Sun: “I think we are fast approaching the time when the United Nations should start to think seriously about abolishing other languages. What’s the point of Welsh, for example? All it does is provide a silly maypole around which a bunch of hotheads can get all nationalistic.”
The comment sparked outrage from Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards, who made a complaint to the BBC. He said the “bigoted and ill-judged comments” of Clarkson “[do] not reflect well on the organisation”.
7) Sarah Jessica Parker: “She looks like a boiled horse”
In a 2008 episode of Top Gear, Clarkson compared an ugly Ferarri with the face of Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker. He remarked she “looks like a boiled horse” – and the audience broke out in laughter.
In the comments posted on the YouTube video of the clip, users have shown their disgust for Clarkson’s opinion. Some have branded Clarkson as “ugly” himself. Others defended him, stating he “only said what many men are thinking, just packed it in an awesome metaphor which happens to be hilarious”. We’re guessing Jessica was less than pleased.
6) Americans: Fat, stupid and rude
Americans get a considerable amount of flak from Clarkson. In his DVD called ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, Jeremy shows his disdain for the Corvette Z06, Mustang, pick-up trucks and Harley-Davidson motorcycles (all symbolically American vehicles). In an extract of a Top Gear episode, he slams Americans by saying :”Everybody is very fat, everybody is very stupid and everybody is very rude. It’s not the Holiday programme, it’s the truth.”
Then there was that moment in Top Gear’s ‘US Special’, where Clarkson and the team undergo a survival challenge, which saw them drive through Alabama with offensive slogans painted across their vehicles. This sparked outrage when they stopped at a local petrol station, and ended with them being chased. To be fair to Clarkson, the locals’ reaction to a gay reference was the real issue.
5) Australians: “You can’t take the convict out of them”
In 2013, Clarkson branded Australians ‘convicts’ by commenting on a group of photographers gathered in Sydney harbour: “You can take them out of England but you can’t take the convict out of them.” Clarkson fired the comment as the group attempted to get a photo of Clarkson as he walked to dinner.
The CEO of spin-off show Top Gear Live, James Cooke-Priest, was among the group dining with Clarkson and he shouted: “You’re the reason we won’t come back to Australia.” This sparked even more outrage, and Australian newspaper Courier Mail published an article saying it would be “good riddance” for Clarkson when he leaves. They labelled him “the biggest muppet… in the wooorrld”.
4) Homosexuals: “I demand the right not to be bummed”
Clarkson has found himself in a bit of bother when it comes to homosexuality. His most recent insult to gay people was in January 2014, where he tweeted a picture with James May holding a sign with the words “gay c***”, pointing to Clarkson. In 2011, George Michael accused Clarkson of being “homophobic” after Clarkson said in his review of the Jaguar XKR-S in an episode of Top Gear: “It’s very fast and very, very loud. And then in the corners it will get its tail out more readily than George Michael.”
In scenes from another Top Gear episode, which were never aired, guest star Alastair Campbell revealed on his blog that he said he felt Clarkson “wasn’t very sound on gay rights”. Clarkson responded: “Oh yes, I am. I demand the right not to be bummed.”
3) Special needs people: “Simpletons”
During an 2010 episode of Top Gear, Clarkson compared two Ferraris, and argued that the new model made the older car, the 430 Speciale, look like a “simpleton”. He then stated the car should be renamed “the 430 Speciale Needs”.
This prompted anger from one member of the National Autistic Society, who said: “To use terms such as special needs in a derogatory or flippant manner only perpetuates the prejudice and bullying which people with disabilities have to cope with.” The BBC apologised for Clarkson’s comment, adding that “there was no intent to make light of those with special educational needs or to make fun at their expense”.
2) Germans: Nazi salute, BMW sat-nav system that “only goes to Poland”
When discussing the new Mini by German company BMW in a 2005 Top Gear episode, Clarkson couldn’t resist making a few references to World War II. After he heard the Mini had been designed with built-in teaspoons and teabags to give it a British edge, he suggested it should be recreated as a “quintessentially” German car.
He said: “Give it trafficators that go like that”, and lifted his arm up and down to imitate the Nazi salute. He then joked the car should have “a satellite navigation system that only goes to Poland”.
1) Striking public sector workers: “Should be shot dead in front of their families”
During a 2011 episode of BBC’s The One Show, Clarkson said of striking public sector workers: “Frankly, I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.”
The BBC received around 5,000 complaints since the comment was broadcast live on air and trade union Unison called for Clarkson to be sacked over his “appalling” comments. Clarkson subsequently issued an apology: “I didn’t for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously… If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I’m quite happy to apologise for it alongside them.”
Not that he needed to. He had actually just said the strikes were a good thing (in the same satirical fashion) and that, because he had just made a positive remark, he “needed to balance it… because this is the BBC”, before making the offending joke.