BBC suspends host of motor show who once offended Indians
London: The BBC has suspended one of its most popular television hosts who was once criticised by Indian diplomats for offensive remarks.
Jeremy Clarkson, who leads a three-member line-up for BBC’s motoring show ‘Top Gear’, was suspended following a “fracas” with a producer of the show.
It has now emerged that the “fracas” involved him punching producer Oisin Tymon over catering arrangements at an outdoor shooting location last week.
The 54-year-old has survived a string of controversies over the years, including making offensive remarks about Indians during shooting a ‘Top Gear’ 90-minute Christmas special back in December 2011.
During the show, 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.
The presenters also placed banners on trains declaring “British IT is good for your company” and “Eat English muffins” which were later torn to reveal rude messages.
The show sparked a complaint from the Indian High Commission in the UK in January 2012, accusing the show of “cheap jibes” and “tasteless humour”, adding that it “lacked cultural sensitivity”.
Indian diplomats had complained to the BBC after the show was aired, describing it as a “disgusting” episode.
But Top Gear bosses had defended its team, saying the road trip across India was “filled with incidents, but none of them were an insult to the Indian people or the culture of the country”.
In a statement on the BBC’s complaints website, it said: “Our film showed the charm, the beauty, the wealth, the poverty and the idiosyncrasies of India.
“But there’s a vast difference between showing a country, warts and all, and insulting it.
“It’s simply not the case that we displayed a hostile or superior attitude to our hosts and that’s very clear from the way the presenters can be seen to interact with them along the way.”
The show has also run into trouble over comments about Mexicans and Burmese, with Clarkson being accused of “casual racism” and using racist words.
It is feared the latest controversy may be the final straw for the popular TV personality, who has received a barrage of support from fans on social media.