Jeremy Clarkson is a rather controversial character to put it lightly. So with the latest news that he’s (reportedly) been dropped by Amazon Prime Video after his comments on Meghan Markle, we couldn’t help but round up his history.
Jeremy Clarkson angered the public when he referred to a car as “ginger beer”, a term that is rhyming slang for “queer” during an episode of Top Gear. Talking to the show’s audience about a Daihatsu Copen, he used the term twice and eventually, Ofcom released a statement saying that this could offend homosexuals and that he shouldn’t have used the term.
It wasn’t actually Jeremy Clarkson to called the car “gay” in the first place however. It was in fact an audience member who said this, with Jeremy agreeing, saying: “A bit gay, yes — very ginger beer”.
“This … meant that the use of the word became capable of giving offence,” Ofcom said. “In the context, there was no justification for using the word in this way.”
According to Reuters, five viewers complained, so Jeremy surely got a slap in the wrist.
While talking about what makes a car “quintessentially German” during a Top Gear news segment, Jeremy made the Nazi salute while making a joke about German indicators and satnavs only pointing to Poland. This was obviously a joke, but several people were angered by this, writing letters of complaint to the BBC.
“As a British person with strong links to Germany, I take exception to this poisonous rubbish carried by a publicly funded broadcasting company. Such actions are out of place in our society,” one said.
This obviously didn’t go down well, and is something that’s plagued the BBC since it happened.
COMMENTS ON MEXICO
It technically wasn’t Jeremy that made these comments about the people of Mexico, it was in fact his co-presenter Richard Hammond, although he did agree and eventually add his own comment later on. Hammond described Mexicans as “lazy, feckless, flatulent oaf[s]” with James May referring to their food as “refried sick”
The presenter later revealed that he’d smoothed things over with the Mexican ambassador.
“Genuinely, if I looked back at the Top Gear Wikipedia section marked ‘controversy’, then Mexico is the one where we definitely got it wrong,” Clarkson told the Radio Times magazine.
“I went to see the Mexican ambassador and apologised to him. I didn’t have to, the Beeb didn’t tell me to, but it was out of order… So we went down and said we were really sorry and got absolutely paralytic on tequila with him.
“That was a good day.”
ARGENTINA NEARLY KILLS THE TRIO
In 2014, Jeremy Clarkson and the “Top Gear” team were filming a special in Argentina when their presence in the country caused a significant amount of controversy and backlash.
The incident occurred when a Porsche that Clarkson was driving was seen with the license plate H982 FKL, which some people in Argentina interpreted as a reference to the 1982 Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom. The license plate was not intended as a reference to the war, but the incident led to protests and threats against the “Top Gear” team, and they were forced to leave the country prematurely. Clarkson later apologised for the incident and acknowledged that it was a mistake.
James May later confirmed that they hadn’t done this on purpose:
“This one was particularly unique though. I’s actually meaningless if you look at it.
“You have to want to see the meaning.”
Jeremy Insults Truck Drivers
Describing the day in a life of a lorry driver, Jeremy’s comments resulted in over 300 complaints from viewers to the BBC.
In a segment on whether the famous trio could handle being truck drivers, Jeremy gave a piece to camera explaining how it was a lot harder than people think. He said:
“This is a hard job [driving a lorry] and I’m not just saying this to win favour with lorry drivers: change gear; change gear; change gear; check your mirrors; murder a prostitute… “
This angered many people, but will always be one of the most hilarious moments of the BBC car show.
THE DEAD COW CAMARO
During the US South Special, Jeremy chose to drive a Chevrolet Camaro. The presenters were tasked with making dinner from roadkill, and when a dead squirrel didn’t quite do the job, Jeremy returned with a dead cow strapped to the roof of the car. Richard and James fell about with laughter, and to in an attempt to remove the cow from the car, Jeremy quickly accelerated backwards and swung the car around, launching the animal off of it.
Jan Creamer, the chief executive of Animal Defenders International, said in a statement about the episode:
“In this case, it is not a matter of whether the animals suffered for the programme, but the fact that ‘Top Gear’ is making light of an activity that is so demeaning to animals.
“Top Gear is being completely irresponsible promoting this activity. Our message is simple. If a family programme like this thinks it is reasonable to degrade animals in this way to endorse such unthinking attitudes to our fellow creatures, then we must encourage viewers to boycott it.”
The BBC were keen to defend their show:
“We’ve had just over 80 complaints about the dead cow on the roof for an audience averaging 6m viewers.
“Viewers are well aware of the type of humour on ‘Top Gear ‘and this was very typical of its irreverent humour. However, no offence was intended.”
JEREMY CLARKSON USES RACIST REMARK IN HIDDEN TOP GEAR FOOTAGE
In 2014, Jeremy Clarkson was involved in a media scandal when it was reported that he had mumbled the racial slur “n-word” while filming a segment for a show. During the segment, Clarkson was trying to choose between two cars and used the children’s nursery rhyme “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” to make his decision. The footage was not aired on television, but it caused a significant amount of backlash and controversy when it was reported in the media.
He later apologised for using the racist term, as you can see above.
The official test track of The Grand Tour was beloved by fans after the move from BBC’s Top Gear to the Prime Video show. But while most focussed on the driving, some were annoyed by the blatant reference to the Ebola virus with Jeremy adding that “it even looks dangerous on a map”.
This statement alone sparked controversy as the Ebola virus killed over 30,000 people in West Africa over 7 years ago.
THE GRAND TOUR GIVES ADVICE TO IMMIGRANTS
In episode 4 of The Grand Tour, Jeremy Clarkson and James May brought in a Audi TT into their studio tent. The crowd from Whitby was challenged by the hosts to go ahead and look for Richard Hammond, who had been strategically placed and hidden in the German sportscar. The crowd opened doors, looked behind seats and some were smart enough to look in the ash tray, but alas, no Hamster to be found.
“When immigrants try to get into the country they always come in the back of a container lorry and that is the world’s worst game of hide and seek. If you work for Border Force you open the doors and go, “well there you are”. Surely, there must be a better way of getting into Britain. And I think I’ve worked it out.”
Kate Gibbs of the Road Haulage Association wasn’t happy with this. She said:
“We are appalled by the portrayal of migrants as an illegal cargo.”
The Mozambique special of The Grand Tour saw the three presenters transporting fresh fish from the coast of Mozambique to the malnourished interior of Bingo. With three vehicles they’d chosen and modified specifically for the job, they travelled the muddy roads of the country. But it wasn’t quite as easy as they expected, with the project resulting in them losing all their fish along the way.
Unfortunately, fans of the show weren’t to happy with this, with many taking to social media to blast the episode:
“I’m usually at the back of the queue to jump on the PC bandwagon but not sure about the last episode of #thegrandtour at all. Uncomfortable on a number of levels,” one fan said.
Another added: “Really unimpressed with the latest episode. Is feeding the world’s most deprived people such a minor issue that you feel you can laugh about it? Was a massive fan but my opinion of you lads has really changed!”
During the Columbia Special, Jeremy Clarkson chose a Jeep Wrangler as his vehicle of choice to traverse the amazing country. This didn’t go down too well with his co-presenters however, as they began to joke about the off-roader being a gay icon.
This annoyed singer Will Young, who took to Twitter to publish his anger.
“It’s f***ing pathetic and actually homophobic. And screw them and the show and Amazon for putting this shaming archaic tripe out,” he wrote. “It’s insulting.
“It’s sad and shaming, bigoted and for f***’s sake grow up. How dare they stereotype?”
Clarkson retaliated with one of his most hilarious columns yet:
“Many gay people who’d seen the show said they couldn’t see a problem. None of my leftie friends could either.
“One even said I should tell him to stop being so gay,” he wrote. “I wouldn’t do that though”.
He concluded: “I will apologise to Will for causing him some upset and reassure him that I know I’m not homophobic as I very much enjoy watching lesbians on the internet.”
CLARKSON’S FARM BATTLE THE COUNCIL
Diddly Squat Farm has come under serious fire as Jeremy has pushed the limits of what he can do on his own land. Battling the council and the locals of Chadlington and surrounding areas, he’s been told many times by the council to stop what he’s doing and shut down.
He’s had to change a number of things on the shop including its roof, and he’s also been forced to close his make-shift restaurant.
The local council released the following statement:
“Council officers have worked with the owner and planning agents of the business, over many months, to investigate breaches in planning control, advising on how the business can be operated in a lawful way and trying to reach a solution.
“The business continues to operate outside the planning permissions granted and advice has been ignored. The activity has also had a significant impact on the local community.”
JEREMY CLARKSON’S TOP GEAR FRACAS
Clarkson was involved in a ‘fracas’ in March 2015. The incident, which occurred while Top Gear was filming on location, involved Clarkson allegedly striking a producer of the show, Oisin Tymon, in the face.
According to reports, the altercation was sparked by a dispute over the lack of hot food available after a long day of filming. The incident resulted in the BBC deciding not to renew Clarkson’s contract, effectively ending his tenure as host of “Top Gear.”
The show’s two other presenters, James May and Richard Hammond, also left the show as a result. The incident sparked widespread media coverage and discussions about the future of “Top Gear.” In 2016, the three presenters reunited to launch a new show called The Grand Tour which has been aired since on Amazon Prime.
JEREMY CLARKSON’S COMMENTS ON MAGHAN MARKLE
After a day of getting called out by fans, onlookers, and Twitter users alike, Jeremy Clarkson has taken to Twitter to release a statement about his latest column where he described his hate for Meghan Markle.
In the column for The Sun, he said:
“At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she [Meghan] is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her.
“Everyone who’s my age thinks the same way,” he continued. “But what makes me despair is that younger people, especially girls, think she’s pretty cool. They think she was a prisoner of Buckingham Palace, forced to talk about nothing but embroidery and kittens.”
He posted to Twitter:
“Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it. In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people. I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.”
Weeks after the initial complaints, Jeremy released yet another statement to his Instagram account. This came just before news that Amazon Prime Video was dropping the presenter and his projects.
“One of the strange things I’ve noticed in recent times is that whenever an MP or a well-known person is asked to apologise for something, no matter how heartfelt or profound that apology may be, it’s never enough for the people who called for it in the first place.
“So I’m going to try and buck the trend this morning with an apology for the things I said in a Sun column recently about Meghan Markle. I really am sorry. All the way from the balls of my feet to the follicles on my head. This is me putting my hands up. It’s a mea culpa with bells on.”
“Usually, I read what I’ve written to someone else before filing, but I was home alone on that fateful day, and in a hurry. So when I’d finished, I just pressed send. And then, when the column appeared the next day, the land mine exploded.
“It was a slow rumble to start with and I ignored it. But then the rumble got louder. So I picked up a copy of The Sun to see what all the fuss was about. We’ve all been there, I guess. In that precise moment when we suddenly realise we’ve completely messed up. You are sweaty and cold at the same time. And your head pounds. And you feel sick. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Had I really said that? It was horrible.”
“I knew what had happened straight away. I’d been thinking of a scene in Game of Thrones, but I’d forgotten to mention this. So it looked like I was actually calling for revolting violence to rain down on Meghan’s head.
“I was very angry with myself because in all those controversial days on Top Gear, when I was accused of all sorts of things, it was very rarely sexism. We never did “women can’t park” gags for instance. Or suggested that powerful cars were only for men. And I was thrilled when Jodie Kidd and Ellen MacArthur set fastest ever laps in our reasonably priced car. I’m just not sexist and I abhor violence against women. And yet I seemed to be advocating just that.
“I was mortified and so was everyone else. My phone went mad. Very close friends were furious. Even my own daughter took to Instagram to denounce me. The Sun quickly apologised, and I tried to explain myself.
“But still, there were calls for me to be sacked and charged with a hate crime. More than 60 MPs demanded action to be taken. ITV, who make Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and Amazon, who make the Farm Show and the Grand Tour, were incandescent.
“I therefore wrote to everyone who works with me saying how sorry I was and then on Christmas morning, i e-mailed Harry and Meghan in California to apologise to them too. I said I was baffled by what they had been saying on TV but that the language I’d used in my column was disgraceful and that I was profoundly sorry.