It’s been reported today that the BBC’s Director General, Mark Thompson, has defended the broadcasting body’s decision not to fire or even discipline Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson for any of his recent gaffes.
In particular – and while discussing the issue with the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee – Thompson referenced Jeremy’s remarks on a recent edition of The One Show, in which he claimed that striking workers “should be shot.”
His other recent booboos have included branding suicide victims as “selfish” for holding up public transport by jumping in front of trains.
However, it was his remark over the strikers that attracted the most criticism, landing some 32,000 complaints at the door of BBC execs…
According to Metro, Thompson told the committee, “Were we to sack him for saying something pretty stupid that would set precedents that mean a lot of people would never get to broadcast?”
He added, “Although clearly he’s a polarising figure for the BBC, there are many millions of people who enjoy and support Jeremy Clarkson.
“That has to be balanced against a couple of flippant remarks in one programme.”
However, Labour MP Jim Sheridan said that Clarkson “is a luxury you cannot afford”, when corporation chairman Lord Patten described Jeremy as one of the UK’s “leading cultural exports”.
Metro also have a commentary from comedian Ed Byrne about the debacle, in which he defends Jeremy’s remarks, noting sagely that it seemed “a step too far” when some viewers likened Clarkson to Colonel Gadaffi after his One Show blunder.
However, that’s not to say Byrne doesn’t have some ire about Jeremy, given that he added, “I think it’s Clarkson’s lack of warmth, charm or empathy, rather than my lack of interest in things automotive, that’s to blame for the odd mixture of anger and nausea I feel when I see his ridiculous face staring at me from the cover of whatever cash-in book he tosses carelessly on to the market at this time of year.”
What do you think? Are the BBC right to take no sort of disciplinary action against Jeremy? Or do you think his ‘humour’ has gone a tad too far and he should be treated as Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand were for Manuel-gate?