Top Gear 'regrets' Clarkson remark

The Oxford Times: Jeremy Clarkson is well known for courting controversy Jeremy Clarkson is well known for courting controversy

Top Gear's producer has apologised after broadcasting a "light-hearted" joke by Jeremy Clarkson that sparked a complaint of racism.

The episode, which was filmed in Burma and Thailand and shown in March, featured a scene where the motoring show's stars built a bridge over the River Kwai and as an Asian man walked over it Clarkson said: "That is a proud moment, but there's a slope on it."

Somi Guha, an act ress who complained to the BBC, said the use of the phrase was an example of "c asual racism" and "gross misconduct".

The BBC2 show's e xecutive producer, Andy Wilman, said: " When we used the word slope in the recent Top Gear Burma Special it was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it.

"We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word slope is considered by some to be offensive and although it might not be widely recognised in the UK, we appreciate that it can be considered offensive to some here and overseas, for example in Australia and the USA.

"If we had known that at the time we would not have broadcast the word in this context and regret any offence caused."

Clarkson is well known for courting controversy - in recent years he has been cleared of breaching the broadcasting code by watchdog Ofcom after comparing a Japanese car to people with growths on their faces.

He previously faced a storm of protest from mental health charities after he branded people who throw themselves under trains as ''selfish'' and was forced to apologise for telling BBC1's The One Show that striking workers should be shot.

The motoring show has also faced complaints from Indian and Mexican politicians over remarks made about their countries while filming on location.

Comments (7)

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12:15pm Wed 23 Apr 14

welshmen says...

There was a slope on the Bridge running from left to right, what's up with people, he's one of the funniest people the BBC have and about the only program that is funny....
There was a slope on the Bridge running from left to right, what's up with people, he's one of the funniest people the BBC have and about the only program that is funny.... welshmen
  • Score: 11

12:32pm Wed 23 Apr 14

speedy231278 says...

It's fashionable to complain about Clarkson, because he's one of the few BBC presenters left who isn't utterly bland and politically correct.
It's fashionable to complain about Clarkson, because he's one of the few BBC presenters left who isn't utterly bland and politically correct. speedy231278
  • Score: 13

1:00pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Raniator says...

Political correctness gone mad.

Sit Somi Guha (whoever the hell she is) in front of a Frankie Boyle DVD… see what she makes of that!
Political correctness gone mad. Sit Somi Guha (whoever the hell she is) in front of a Frankie Boyle DVD… see what she makes of that! Raniator
  • Score: 3

1:29pm Wed 23 Apr 14

John Steed says...

not only was it a hilarious comment, it is even more hilarious now because I for one did not know it was considered by some to be a derogatory term of endearment, still having had a week end of up pompei and carry on films, there is no doubt we british of a certain age enjoy a good "double entendre"
not only was it a hilarious comment, it is even more hilarious now because I for one did not know it was considered by some to be a derogatory term of endearment, still having had a week end of up pompei and carry on films, there is no doubt we british of a certain age enjoy a good "double entendre" John Steed
  • Score: 0

1:58pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Mary80 says...

How the hell could that be seen as racist? Are we not allowed to use the word slope in case it might offend someone? Jesus what next ban using the colour yellow in case it offends asians?
How the hell could that be seen as racist? Are we not allowed to use the word slope in case it might offend someone? Jesus what next ban using the colour yellow in case it offends asians? Mary80
  • Score: 0

2:05pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Edmondsley says...

Mary, Jesus could upset quite a few Jewish people.Even if you are his mother :-)
Mary, Jesus could upset quite a few Jewish people.Even if you are his mother :-) Edmondsley
  • Score: -1

3:03pm Wed 23 Apr 14

MJI says...

Never heard of the term either, and I wonder if the TG team had.
Never heard of the term either, and I wonder if the TG team had. MJI
  • Score: 0
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