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Fisticuffs end new "Top Gear" series - how the BBC risked biggest franchise over catering fracas

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The paradox here is the Andrew mentions Jimmy Saville, the epitome of a company (a whole nation, almost) covering up someone's misdoings to protect the star of the show, yet fails to see the two incidents as being similar.

Obviously what Saville did is far more serious than punching someone... But the crux of the matter is that celebs and big earners should not be above the law or above punishment. Hiding that notion behind some kind of anti liberal, anti PC crusade makes it no easier to stomach.

​I couldn't agree more with this statement.

As for Andrew's comments about how important Top Gear is to the BBC, the only relevant question is whether the allegations against Clarkson are true or not. The profitability of Top Gear is completely irrelevant unless you believe moral exceptions should be made when profits are at stake. Imagine someone making the same argument about Saville. It would be an absolute disgraceful position to take. The allegations against Clarkson aren't anything like as serious, but the argument about moral consistency still applies.

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I think we need to define PC and where the line is drawn though.....

Over criticising a joke about a "special" car - Yea, PC brigade

Forcing someone to apologise for using the N word, off air - Some might consider it pandering, I would say the majority realise that a public figure is accountable if he is well aware there is a camera or audience around.

Suspending someone for allegedly punching a member of staff - Common sense, nothing PC about it.

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​Says the PC troll. Did you even read the rest of the post?

​I did and I found it irrelevant. What was done was just poor management and lack of common sense. Using Political correctness as a false cause, and a loaded question. And what's with the name calling?

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​I did and I found it irrelevant. What was done was just poor management and lack of common sense. Using Political correctness as a false cause, and a loaded question. And what's with the name calling?

Sure ​you can be focused on the Top Gear incident and find this irrelevant but I was speaking to the broader topic which I think is the source of Andrew's frustration and the reason for his diatribe. I don't think he's so concerned about the specifics of the incident, he's more concerned about the implications to the industry of this type of pandering to PC culture. 

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I think we need to define PC and where the line is drawn though.....

Over criticising a joke about a "special" car - Yea, PC brigade

Forcing someone to apologise for using the N word, off air - Some might consider it pandering, I would say the majority realise that a public figure is accountable if he is well aware there is a camera or audience around.

Suspending someone for allegedly punching a member of staff - Common sense, nothing PC about it.

​Agreed.

I believe the line is drawn if it can be defensible to say or do it. If the Producer was punching Clarkson, then Clarkson is within his rights to defend and punch back.

Given the right context, anyone can say the word "nigga" (yes, I'm typing it out because "the N word" sounds worse in my opinion). White comedians like Louis CK and Ricky Gervais say it to, arguably and can be defended, to great effect. Jeremy Clarkson is indefensible and unfunny when he's using it to choose cars though...

And totally, punching someone for having a cold steak of their own fault is baaaad.

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Sure ​you can be focused on the Top Gear incident and find this irrelevant but I was speaking to the broader topic which I think is the source of Andrew's frustration and the reason for his diatribe. I don't think he's so concerned about the specifics of the incident, he's more concerned about the implications to the industry of this type of pandering to PC culture. 

'Politically correct' is used in a pejorative sense here... it's simply a term used for caring about other people's feelings and minimising unnecessary offence.

In your example, you say your country is wasting money on changing a flag, when it could be used to feed starving children, right? That's already a lot of assumptions on the way budgets are made. Why does it have to be one or the other? I'm sure there are other ways money is being wasted too? And let's assume that you are right that the nation is dipping in their child poverty fund to change a flag... that isn't caring about people, that's just gross misallocation of funding! Just like when North Korea starves their country increase military and build fake streets to look good for outsiders!

The only broader topic that I can gleam from Andrew's post is nothing to do with "pandering to PC culture" - his only valid points are  "TOP GEAR IS A REALLY SUCCESFUL SHOW THAT MAKES A LOT OF MONEY" and "I LIKE TOP GEAR". 

 

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I'll make a specific post regarding the Top Gear incident.

Like others I can understand the need to suspend Clarkson if he's actually punched a Producer. Having said this though I can find no news report stating a punch up, they state a fracas which may have been just verbal.

What I do not understand though are the incidents leading up to this sad state of affairs - the bad comments, racial slurs etc. In these circumstances one must surely question the good taste and competency of the Producer and Director involved because these shows are highly scripted and set up with multiple takes. If Clarkson said something offensive why didn't the Producer or Director call him up on this in the field and do another take leaving out the offensive words. Even if this wasn't picked up in the field, why was it left in the edit that was broadcast - one can always cut around such things and as a last resort even completely remove the offending piece. Clarkson himself stated with the 'eeny meeny miny moe' piece there were other takes without the 'n' word and he emailed the Producer asking them to swap it out.

This all sounds to me like a bit of a stitch up with a Producer trying to make an edgy controversial show. Perhaps some of the source of friction between Clarkson and him?

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I do agree the timing is suspicious. How public was this fight with the Producer? 

Anyway Jeremy Clarkson is Top Gear, and I don't doubt he can find an equally successfully stint on other more commercial oriented networks. Remember when Jonathan Ross switched to ITV?  

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I pretty much covered myself fine there. Both legally and ethically. I am discussing acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. i didnt say he punched him or that he committed assault. You need to re-read what I wrote. 

Considering Andrew's post was chock full of assumptions without covering his arse that you are  taking issue with what I wrote when I said "if" and stated the hypothetical nature of what i wrote then I am most perplexed!

​Well, yes you covered yourself, but I acknowledged that you did. I took issue with you deciding that something is assault, and insinuating that any time someone hits someone else, it is appropriate to accuse them of a serious crime or even using the word assault in the context of the incident without waiting for the legal process, which spends a great deal of energy, with privileged access to establish the facts. If that wasn't what you were saying, I hope you will accept my apology, I got my wires crossed - the rest of it, talking about the assumptions we have all made was not aimed at you, but everyone, including myself. 

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Andrew and friends, i just about made it through the rant, and some posts, well done everyone :-)

my 2 pence:

~ For the BBC not to have a plan 'B' for replacing the serially crass buffoon that is J Clarkson is crass in its self - the guy has been a slo-mo car crash, years in the making - every time he's got away with something most other would have lost their jobs for he's got more powerful, more arrogant and more secure. They have to get rid of him now. Time to put him out to pasture on ITV and let the advertisers spend their customers money on a platform for this insincere, casual racist. It's do that or make him DG.

~ I do watch the show and quite like it despite JC not because of. TopGear is about coming to terms with a passing epoch, that's why the current concept is a show presented by some 'chaps' from a 1950's 'Ukipistarn', about expensive, dangerous objects of fetish about to be made obsolete by google's driverless technology and growing concern for the environment. The broadcaster and producers had the gumption to re-invent the show from its 'car review' days and now it needs to do so again. There are many talented people to present this show, genuine comedians for example, who know how to be edgy, popular and funny without repeating tired, played out notions of the 'other' for cheap laughs. Frankie Boyle springs to mind as does Rowan Atkinson. Sack all 3 of the current 'jokers', the other 2 are just yes men/fall guys anyway and have effectively condoned his behaviour by standing around laughing when he does it. BBC should use this as an opportunity to change the format again - lets have a woman, a person of colour or LBGT presenter help us explore the changes in our culture though satire, parody and irony. The genius of the show is the concept and the writing, combined with the biggest budget for factual or LE on the BBC, and it's definitely not JC. Get over him already, he's not your dad or uncle, he's just a very rich guy, who's been violent in the workplace to a colleague and repeatably offensive to many people who contribute to his huge salary.

~ Last thought: generally huge salaries are perceived as compensation for great skill and responsibility (hence city bonuses). Why would someone so well paid by licence fee payers have so little regard for the institution he works for and represents. Unless of course we live in place where the most powerful and privileged can get away with bad work practice, impacting millions of people, but somehow manage to point the finger of blame at the most disadvantaged, disempowered groups amongst us.

dan.

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Great post Dan. You've changed my mind that the show could still carry on without Jeremy Clarkson. Although as far as I'm aware, the show is a very family unit so it'd be a total revamp. I would absolutely love Frankie Boyle presenting! He's pretty much got the balance of edgy and funny really well. Plus his Knightrider sketch makes me laugh out loud thinking about it.

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who's been violent in the workplace to a colleague

​And here you have the reason why you don't fling words around like assault. The narrow context of how you used it is unimportant compared to the wider context, you've already stated that you are wide open to the idea that not everyone who reads your posts, reads it properly, by telling me to re-read your words, I had misunderstood them. The Dan's of this world take your word as sacrosanct, maybe without having read or understood them properly and make statements as fact when he doesn't actually know the truth and the end result of this misinformation creep can be potentially serious.

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'Politically correct' is used in a pejorative sense here... it's simply a term used for caring about other people's feelings and minimising unnecessary offence.

In your example, you say your country is wasting money on changing a flag, when it could be used to feed starving children, right? That's already a lot of assumptions on the way budgets are made. Why does it have to be one or the other? I'm sure there are other ways money is being wasted too? And let's assume that you are right that the nation is dipping in their child poverty fund to change a flag... that isn't caring about people, that's just gross misallocation of funding! Just like when North Korea starves their country increase military and build fake streets to look good for outsiders!

The only broader topic that I can gleam from Andrew's post is nothing to do with "pandering to PC culture" - his only valid points are  "TOP GEAR IS A REALLY SUCCESFUL SHOW THAT MAKES A LOT OF MONEY" and "I LIKE TOP GEAR". 

 

​There's a big difference between the narrow definition of something and the affects the manifestation of that thinking has upon society.

I see it as beginning to mimic what George Orwell wrote about in 1984 regarding acceptable and unacceptable language with what he called 'Newspeak'. Certain words were deemed unacceptable so as to limit freedom of thought. In a similar way today certain 'memes' are considered unacceptable by the 'politically correct' middle classes in their attempts to not offend anybody. To talk of some of the 'memes' is pretty much social and political suicide. For instance mentioning a meme regarding 'victim mentality' and race will get you labelled a 'racist'. Mentioning the meme 'doubting the validity of Anthropogenic Climate Change' will have you labelled a 'denier'. Being identified with anything like that is political suicide for a politician and so they naturally fall in line with what's 'politically correct' because after all they need to be seen as reasonable, fair and caring individuals to win our votes. Thus you have the crazy situation of spending all that money on changing our flag, not for the benefit of the indigenous minority that supposedly this is about, but actually to satisfy the political correctness of the guilt-ridden white majority in order to win votes. If you were to ask Maori I'm sure most would want that money better spent by feeding their children.

I hope that makes things a little clearer.

Regarding Andrew, how can you say that when he states things such as:

"In an effort to be transparent and impartial the BBC and other companies have opened their doors to any life-form on earth who happens to be offended by any-thing.

This is creating a culture in the TV and film industry which is anti-creativity and anti-risk but most damagingly it’s anti-personality."

and

"Giving people something to laugh at and bringing some fun onto the screen is where Top Gear’s remit should end, but management everywhere now have ideas way beyond their station.

Apparently, if you’re making a magazine show about high performance cars, you have to cure global warming too. If you run a sport called Formula One for 40 years, suddenly you need to put eco friendly engines in the cars. If you produce a long-running comedy panel show or quiz, now you need to equally balance the number of male and female guests in every episode to reflect society itself. If you produce a program about politics you need to give as much air time to racist skinhead candidates as you do to the prime minster. It’s all for the sake of ‘balance’ and ‘impartiality’ and ‘curing society of all its ills’. Strangely, I thought it was just entertainment.

It seems middle-management pursue a moral crusade and a message in every single piece of content in our homes.

I am sick of it." 

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Presbytis, like I said earlier it's all about context... there's nothing wrong with desiring equal rights and a more fair world. The methods to do that however, can be questioned. Your example is an issue of a manipulative Politician more than anything else. If, as you say, the "white guilt voters" were directly told "I will change our flag or make sure every child will not go hungry" - I'm pretty sure anyone would side for the latter and question why that Politician ever had to give that choice.

As for Andrew's statements. well, yeah he seems to be having 3 tangents here, all of which are off-base. Maybe we should have a separate articles for his opinions on money, criticism, and creativity? This actually just boils down to Jeremy Clarkson getting into a "fracus" with Oisin Tymon. If we find out that he didn't punch him, or didn't threaten to punch him, and it was just a shouty whinge or something that got out of hand, then I don't see any reason why BBC can't air the 2 last episodes and keep working with Clarkson. If it turns out that Clarkson did do what he allegedly did, then the BBC are put in an awkward situation and I don't think Clarkson is above getting away with it this time.

I am still deeply concerned about the posts saying "I'm all for better representation of women, ethnic backgrounds etc" yet agreeing that a "vocal minority" should "shut up". Hahaha oh dear guys.

The thing about the BBC is that it has to stick to being fair because everyone pays the TV License fee. Heaven forbid if it turns like the Fox network! That has terrible things going on... [although I do admit I love shows like 24 and House that have come from it... the news and bigotry is massive]

 

 

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I agree with Andrew that this should/could have been handled internally,  but in today's social media world, nothing stays internal.  Things go viral in an instant and cannot be controlled like in the past.  Everyone seems to want to be a star, and puke their lives out there through Facebook, twitter, whatever.      Clarkson's a jerk, at least on-air, everyone knows it,  we don't know how much of a fight this was so it's hard to say.  A punch could be anything from a small whack, to a huge knock-down brawl with guys rolling on the floor.  We don't know yet do we? 

BBC was playing with fire for a long time with this guy.  in the end it's all about MONEY.    Personally,  I loved to hate Clarkson and would miss him if in fact he's really gone.   Somehow I doubt he will be. 

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​And here you have the reason why you don't fling words around like assault. The narrow context of how you used it is unimportant compared to the wider context, you've already stated that you are wide open to the idea that not everyone who reads your posts, reads it properly, by telling me to re-read your words, I had misunderstood them. The Dan's of this world take your word as sacrosanct, maybe without having read or understood them properly and make statements as fact when he doesn't actually know the truth and the end result of this misinformation creep can be potentially serious.

​This Dan's of this world did no such thing, but i'm sure that small detail wont inhibit the raging angry white man that thinks he can speak for me.

Perhaps in your world its acceptable to beat the staff when not up to scratch but in a modern civil society you'll get a criminal record, hopefully.

You seem to forget just how long this guy's record is and imagine some senior manager at BBC HQ flippantly allowing this story to escalate into the red top headlines, despite the show grossing c. £150 million? Dah! I've worked in production for c. 20 years and my experience tells me if this went public then something definitely happened and the BBC didn't want to get caught out with others reporting on this before they did.

So Will, reading between your lines, maybe you'd like to keep him on, perhaps you identify with him a bit and think case not proven and racism is no where near as bad as the sexual assault of minors (while on BBC property) for example. But then that's a distinction more easily made if you or your loved ones are not from a visible minority with long painful experiences of being racially abused and mistreated. And you probably don't make a correlation between the casually expressed racism of establishment figures (like Clarkson) and things like the experience of the Parisienne violently stopped from boarding his train home by racist chelsea fans. If indeed it even showed on your radar, it hasn't impacted you so what can be wrong?

Time for people to have some imagination, the world will keep spinning without jeeza and his mates, formats don't last forever, and despite a few retro racists floating around in the media currently their time is done and if you can't get your head round that then may be yours is too.

 

atb.

 

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Who is this guy?

Clarkson?

A Swede?

Sorry for my question, I haven’t watched TV for over 10 years. I get my news and entertainment through other channels.

 

OK… I am joking.

I have read the story. I have even seen a few topgear episodes on youtube.

Obviously this guy has punched his colleague, or though not. Publicly.

So the question is, does the employer have the right to fire him?

What would happen in your company? What would you expect? How could you work together with a colleague, who has hit you? Or perhaps not, but….

 

Maybe famous people should have more rights?

Like this “gangnam-style-boy”. He has been seen x-million times. A real hero.

For 1 mill. views on Youtube 1 physical assault should be allowed, 5 racist and 10 political incorrect remarks as well. Publicly of course.

For 5 million views 5 physical or sexual harassments, 10 racist and 20 political incorrect remarks should be free.

Maybe for 10 mill. views it should be free once to spit a chewing gum on the pavement in Singapore :-)

What do you think?

 

These things are quite cultural. Being an international business consultant, I have worked in most European countries. Maybe you remember the Nokia MD, who was caught speeding and had to pay a certain percentage of his yearly income. Aaauuuggghhh, it did heart.

In another, Southern European country, a famous football player was caught driving 200 within city limits. The policeman was so happy to see him, he asked.

Are you really….????

Oohh yes, I am :-)

Can I have your autograph?

Yes :-)

A picture with you? Just for my son…

Yes :-)  

Have a nice day! We love you!

 

I am not an expert on UK issues, but if I was a UK taxpayer and the BBC was operating for my money…  I think, I would prefer the Finnish attitude :-)

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