August 23rd, 2014

Clarkson's career on a knife edge as 'Racist' scandal drags on

Top StoriesBy Donal MacIntyre
Controversial Clarkson fighting for job after 'mumbled racist slur' admitted in leaked TV footage.
Controversial Clarkson fighting for job after 'mumbled racist slur' admitted in leaked TV footage.

Controversial BBC presenter Jeremy Clarkson is fighting to keep his job after admitting mumbling an offensive slur on black people during a recording of Top Gear.

The world’s most popular broadcaster, notorious for his politically incorrect statements has now crossed the line observers say with an explicit admission that an un=broadcast part of the the recorded material had Clarkeson repeating the rhyme, ‘Eeny minny miny mo, catch a n***r by the toe’ twice before replacing the offensive word with ‘teacher’.

Although never intended for broadcast, it was leaked out to a London newspaper and puts the BBC in a very difficult position.

Top Gear is its biggest and most profitable show and Clarkson is the star and yet the public service broadcast can’t be seen to condone the use of the word however, weakly mumbled and no matter how deep the contrition.

There will be considerable anger that an insider leaked the tape in the same manner which saw Sky presenters, Andy Gray and Richard Keys, sacked for crude and sexist comments off screen. 

Clarkson has every reason to retract and seek forgiveness with millions of pounds in annual revenue at stake, particularly in the US where a major league basketball owners has just been sacked for racist behaviour.

Clarkson’s faux pas comes nowhere close to that but it does come on the back of a litany of similar slipups some of which made it on air and resulted n allegations of racism being made against Clarkson.

Last night Clarkson begged for public mercy in a video message on twitter. Having previously outrigt denied it , Clarkson admits he mumbled it, trying to disguise the word.

"Now when I viewed this footage, several weeks later, I realised that in one of the mumbled versions, if you listen very carefully with the sound turned right up, it did appear that I'd actually used the word I was trying to obscure”, he said in a statement.

"I was mortified by this, horrified, it is a word I loath. And I did everything in my power to make sure that that version did not appear in the programme that was transmitted.

"In fact, I have here the note I sent at the time to the production office. "And it says, 'I didn't use the n-word here but I've just listened through my headphones and it sounds like I did. Is there another take that we could use?'

"Please be assured I did everything in my power to not use that word. And as I'm sitting here begging your forgiveness for that fact that obviously my efforts weren't quite good enough, " he pleaded to his 3 million twitter followers and the all important American market.

A statement released by the BBC said: “Jeremy Clarkson has set out the background to this regrettable episode.

“We have made it absolutely clear to him, the standards the BBC expects on air and off. We have left him in no doubt about how seriously we view this, “ the BBC said.

The BBC is in a difficult position here because where there is one leaked bit of tape there usually follows another.

If there is any more evidence of such behaviour, the BBC will have to sack Clarkson and distance themselves from him, as Prime Minister David Cameron, a regular guest with Clarkson, appears to have done.