So, I see that Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble again, this time allegedly for hitting a producer. And I wonder this: who is surprised? I suppose the most surprising thing is that the BBC have finally taken steps against it. It’s all very well to say that you’re giving someone a “formal warning” – he’s been warned about things so many times that he’s practically a weathercock (along the same lines as the spoof UKIP Radio 4 report, one could also have: “Storms expected in North Clarkson. Moderate to Racist”). Though, of course, the BBC has regularly defended Top Gear and its presenters – the Argentinian fiasco was just a mistake, and the people who were offended by the stereotyping of Mexicans in 2011 just didn’t understand British (and Top Gear) humour.
Already there have been plenty of people coming out in defence of Jeremy Clarkson, that poor misunderstood figure, just the innocent victim of horrible people with agendas (presumably agendas such as “racism is not funny” for example). More than 250,000 people have signed a petition asking for him to be reinstated. Because, you know, it’s tough to be a rich, white, heterosexual man. Everyone is prejudiced against him – it’s sheer liberal fascism (did you know such a thing existed? No, me neither). Well, I’d like to say that my heart bleeds for him, but that would be a lie. I happen to have sympathies more with people who don’t want to encounter violence at work; who suffer the prejudice of others because they are from ethnic minority backgrounds, or female, or immigrants. You know, the sort of people Clarkson likes to mock, because cheap laughs are easily bought that way.
I’ll be interested to see if the BBC does more than suspend Clarkson temporarily. He has apparently previously been told that “if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked”. And, of course, hitting someone (if such he has done) is not an offensive remark. Judging from the BBC’s previous attitude towards Clarkson’s misdemeanours, there’s enough room for them to wriggle out, once again, from actually getting rid of him. Because not only is he rich, but he’s helping making the BBC rich – which is much more important than any moral issues. It is noticeable that when a local BBC radio presenter played – he said inadvertently – a version of ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’ which included a racist word, he was sacked. One rule for Jeremy Clarkson, another for someone who isn’t raking in the cash.
So, BBC – are you going to put your money where your mouth is? Or are you going to continue feeding it into Jeremy Clarkson’s racist, sexist and violent mouth?