Jeremy Clarkson on 'final warning' with BBC

Last updated 09:09 04/05/2014
JEREMY CLARKSON/Twitter

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson apologises for using what sounds like a racist word.

Clarkson's offensive past

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
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RILING EVERYONE: Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

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Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson says he is on his final warning with the BBC after the controversy over his use of the n-word.

Writing in his weekly Sun newspaper column, Clarkson said he had run out of chances and would be sacked if he ever made an offensive remark again, according to the Mirror.

"It's funny. I've always thought I'd be sacked for something I said. Not for something that actually, I didn't say. And even the angel Gabriel would struggle to survive with that hanging over his head," he wrote.

"It's inevitable that one day, someone, somewhere will say that I've offended them, and that will be that."

Clarkson said his BBC bosses ordered him to make last week's apology for "something I hadn't done" - a plan he described as "not very good".

"An apology is a good idea if you've just spilled some beer down someone's shirt...But saying sorry for using the most racist word of them all, and hoping the story would die down as a result?"

He compared his apology to saying sorry for starting the Syrian civil war because they were both things he had not done.

"I've been told by the BBC that if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked."

The pressure to apologise also went against the advice of his own lawyer, Clarkson claimed.

He added he had "become Hitler" and was being attacked by people calling for him to join PR guru Max Clifford who was recently jailed for sex offences.

Last week Clarkson begged for forgiveness in a statement posted on Twitter, he which said he tried to obscure the word, but that his efforts to do so "weren't quite good enough" and was "mortified" when he heard it.

In the footage, published on the Daily Mirror's website, Clarkson is shown standing between a Toyota GT86 and a Subaru BRZ and pondering how to choose between them.

He then recites the beginning of the children's nursery rhyme "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe ..." before mumbling, "catch a n****r by his toe".

The footage was not used in the final programme, which aired in February 2013.

The furore comes just days after Top Gear producers apologised for a "light-hearted" joke by Clarkson in Myanmar and Thailand in which he referred to a "slope" on a bridge as an Asian man crossed a makeshift structure built by the presenters.

The show prompted complaints of racism and producer Andy Wilman apologised, saying they were unaware it was a racially offensive term for Asians and regretted any offense caused.

The BBC has regularly downplayed controversies over Clarkson's comments through the 26-year history of Top Gear, one of its best-selling shows which has aired in 214 countries, helping make Clarkson, a journalist by background, into a global celebrity.

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Top Gear was named by Guinness World Records as the world's most widely watched factual TV programme in 2013 and its popularity has led to spin-offs including video games and a magazine.

But Clarkson's strong views have pitched him up against politicians, national governments, environmental groups, car companies and communities across Britain over the years. Facebook has an "I Hate Jeremy Clarkson" page.

A BBC statement said the corporation had spoken to Clarkson and made "absolutely clear" the standards expected.

"We have left him in no doubt about how seriously we view this," said the statement.

A BBC spokesman said the corporation had nothing to add beyond this statement. The BBC declined to say how much Clarkson makes or how much Top Gear earns.

- Agencies

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