The British Broadcasting Corporation, which supported a TV host who made racist anti-Indian jibes, has now suspended him over a fight he had with a producer.
BBC announced on Tuesday that Jeremy Clarkson, the host of Top Gear programme, was suspended “following a fracas” with a producer.
The terse statement said “no one else has been suspended” and that Top Gear, a show about motoring, will not be aired Sunday. BBC gave no further details but the Guardian reported that Clarkson threw “a punch at a male producer” during a filming last week.
Besides racist taunts against Indians, Clarkson’s history includes using ugly terms for people of African descent and for Southeast Asians. He also made offensive jokes about Mexicans and Chinese drowning-victims on BBC broadcasts.
All along, BBC had not taken any action against him for racist slur.
In a show broadcast in 2011, he installed a toilet in the trunk of a Jaguar and drove around slums where he took off his pants in public, claiming to show Indians how to press pants with a device that he said he used to make chapatis.
The Indian programme used railway carriages in a segment to display obscenities. A banner reading, “Eat English Muffins,” was strung across the carriages in a such a way that when the carriages separated an obscenity showed up. The other, “The United Kingdom promotes BRITISH IT FOR YOUR COMPANY” turned into a jibe about excreta.
The Daily Mail reported that Indian diplomats had agreed to making the programme in India after its produces wrote to them that it would be a “light-hearted road trip”.
An outline of the programme had claimed that it would show “spontaneous interaction between the presenters and their environment” and that it would emphasise “local car culture” and show “beautiful scenery, busy city scenes, local charm and colour,” the newspaper reported.
When complaints were made about the programme about India, BBC stood behind Clarkson. According to the Daily Mail, a BBC statement said, “It’s simply not the case that we displayed a hostile or superior attitude to our hosts (India).”
A BBC spokesperson quoted by the newspaper said, “If viewers or religious groups want to complain, they can complain to the BBC. We won’t be responding through the media.”
BBC’s director general at that time, Mark Thompson is now the chief executive officer of the New York Times.
The Telegraph reported that after the programme was aired, a spokesperson for BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten said he stood by his comment that Top Gear was one of the leading “cultural” exports of Britain.