Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble. Again. The BBC has announced the Top Gear presenter has been suspended “following a fracas” with a producer.
“Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation,” the BBC said. “No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.”
The presenter was on a final warning after claims he had used a racist term during filming of an episode of Top Gear in 2014. Clarkson said that “one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time” would result in him being sacked.
No doubt the BBC had to make the cancellation as parts of Top Gear are filmed in front of a live television audience, which would be impossible while suspended. It is unclear when the show will return and what caused the suspension.
Top Gear came under fire last year after using a Porsche with the registration plate ‘H982 FKL’ – a reference to the Falklands war – while filming in Argentina, a stunt Clarkson denied was done on purpose. Prior to this, the presenter appeared to have uttered a racial slur on camera (also denied) and earned the wrath of Twitter for posting a picture containing homophobic language.
Top Gear has been one of the BBC’s biggest successes in recent years and Clarkson – who joined in 2002 – and producer Andy Wilman were instrumental in turning the show around.
Clarkson is said to earn around £1 million a year for presenting the show, while a buyout of his shares in his joint venture with the BBC to commercialise the show, known as Beddder 6, landed him £8.4 million and another £4.86 million as part of a dividend payout in 2012.
Update: The fracas was allegedly caused after a producer, said to be Oisin Tymon, failed to give Clarkson his dinner on time, according to the Mirror newspaper. The BBC is yet to clarify. The remaining episodes of the show have also been pulled.
Is this the nail in the coffin for Top Gear or a clever publicity stunt? Has political correctness finally won? Let us know in the comments.