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Andrew Reid

Top Gear - Clarkson contract won't be renewed by BBC. Should there be one rule for talent, one rule for "the rest"?

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If the BBC was a school and Clarkson was a child... 

 

​They would take the children aside, talk with them and then continue as usual. Maybe the bullied (not the bully) would change schools. That's about it....

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Of the 5000 people who read it, there's a vocal minority of 5 or 6 people in the comments. Hardly unusual for the internet is it!?

Most of the people in the comments disagree with you, so why on Earth would you assume that everyone else who read the post without commenting agrees with you? I don't think you can rely on your site statistics being an indication of how many unique visitors you have either. There are probably quite a few of us checking in regularly on the progress of this discussion.

If I thought for one second Clarkson endorsed bullying and abuse in offices I wouldn't be defending him.

I don't think anyone here is arguing that Clarkson positively endorses it. People have various ways of rationalizing their own behavior or excusing their own mistakes as exceptions, but if he's going to do things like this, there should be consequences. The actions of any individual are invariably explainable if you look closely enough at the circumstances of their lives, and you can have all the sympathy you like for someone who is going through personal issues, but it just isn't sensible to allow someone in a poor state of mind to hold a position of responsibility.

It should be possible to defend Clarkson whilst not being seen to be endorsing his behaviour.

When people say things like "I don't mean to be rude, but...", they generally follow it up with something rude. When they say "I'm not racist, but...", they generally follow it up with something racist. It's a familiar way of anticipating an objection and maintaining some deniability, so when you preface your comments by saying you consider what Clarkson did wrong, but go on to argue that he still shouldn't be sacked, you can maybe understand why some of us take that to be a less-than-convincing denunciation.

I don't think anyone here is arguing that you positively endorse his actions (that word again), but you are clearly downplaying their significance. Your explicit attempts to justify applying a double standard to talent vs non-talent are also deeply troubling to me.

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I have been reading EOSHD at least every week the past 3 years, but that is getting less and less frequent. I think that is mostly due to the views expressed on the site, and the constant attitude towards equipment, that on day seems to be the dream thing to own, and the other day being unusable, and the third day back again. It makes me think that it is not very professional.

These past Jeremy-articles however is the nail in the coffin for me. Defending a person that time after time makes stupid mistakes and ends up punching a coworker, and defend him for the reason that he is a talent and entertaining, that makes me think that lack of empathy might be involved here. How would you feel working with a person who is unstable and might punch you as soon as he is not pleased? Large organisations, and especially public organisation, must be transparent and take measures for equality.

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Not sure if its been said already (but despite many things i don't like about the institution) the bbc they have handled this clarkson melt down quite well in the circumstances: 

~ Conducted a thorough and professional investigation into the incident.

~ Let tank driving clarkson fan boys blow themselves out with their misplaced rhetoric while keeping mostly schtum.

~ Then drop the facts and make the correct action.

TV shows change and finish, people will move on. The sky wont fall in, the bbc will keep going.

For those who think he is a troubled anti-establishment comic genius and/or offers some kind of satirical critique of our 'PC' times or whatever, we could argue forever about how sadly confused i think you are but there is no need - he's gone, it's over. The people charged with disposing of large sums of public money for on-screen talent have correctly decided even money making fictional cult figures need to keep their fists to themselves to stay on the payroll. This isn't crazy "PC world gone mad" kind of stuff - it's called the modern 1st world where people with money, power and connections still quite often 'get away with it' but in any given time and place there are some limits and the limits (and principles) in this case are widely understood and accepted. The outcomes were inevitable the moment clarkson acted out in the way he did. Why he or anyone else would think there could be another outcome is a mystery to me and maybe represents some kind of wider cultural dissonance but probably not and its all just been a wonderful opportunity to learn a bit more about each other :-)

Andrew, I can see these threads have been popular, thank you and well done for hosting them.

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It's curious isn't it, since I suggested that I believe the BBC shirked their duty of care towards their employees, just how many people have taken the time to try, in their own ways to shut down the conversation. I could understand it if they were forced to read this thread, or browse this website, but to take the time to come here and post their displeasure at the conversation and make various plees or threats to stop talking, it's like they don't want this line of thinking to be talked about. Like you want to apply your own ineffectual brand of censorship to an argument that you have no legitimate response to.

If you genuinely don't want to browse this website or read about this subject, you wouldn't have. You did, which tells us all one thing, you care, you want to voice your opinion, but mine has proven you wrong. You don't have the strength of character, unlike Lammy, who I respect a great deal for his intelligence and nuanced responses, to challenge your own assumptions, you would rather try to censor the opinion instead.

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Its really sad that one of the greatest TV shows will never be the same. Jeremy Clarkson was the backbone of the show but he also bears the responsibility for its (probable) demise. He seems to have a problem with understanding that actions have consequences - you see it in pretty much every episode and it really makes for great TV. He behaves as if he is invincible and entertains the hell out of us in the process. Unfortunately this behaviour leaks out into the "real" world and he's got himself into trouble many many times. 

You can argue that he should be given a break but its not an isolated incident. He's really f**ked up a lot and got away with it with a slap on the wrist. The BBC has defended him where it may not have defended others and they have already given him the "star" treatment several times over. He's one of the biggest starts of the corporation and given his serial bad behaviour, which has put the show at risk on a few occasions before, I'm positive that his superiors would have done everything they could have to protect the show. He's put the BBC in a terrible position with his latest actions and he alone is responsible for this.

I spent 4 years working at the BBC and its a very "by the book" organization. Its pretty clear right from the beginning whats acceptable and whats not. Tens of thousands of other employees seem to get the rules. He's worked there for decades, understands the organization and the responsibilities it has to license fee payers and he still screws up like this after many warnings. How many warnings and slaps on the wrist should he be allowed exactly? 

I understand the argument that its a bigger picture; that one of the most popular TV shows on the planet is at risk and that sometimes you need to be flexible with your rules to benefit the greater good. This is fine on short-term productions (like film) or with independent companies that only answer to shareholders, but the BBC cannot afford to be that flexible - its a publicly owned company with a charter, answerable to the people and absolutely cannot be seen to be supporting criminal behaviour. As I said, Clarkson knew this. He knew he was on thin ice and he knew that another f**k up probably signal the end of his employment. He might have been under a lot of stress and fuelled by booze but he still made a conscious decision to do what he did. I'd bet you anything he woke up the next morning and thought to himself "oh dear......."

Its just a sad sad situation. Like many stars, he's the master of his own downfall. His unpredictable and risk-taking character which has helped to take Top Gear to the heights of success is also the cause of its demise.  

Maybe he can take a break on Clarkson island:

 

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​and they just have again, with your blessing, it seems!

​No. But respect to you for sticking with your polemic and even though you've thoroughly failed to defend the indefensible, trivialise the important, beatify the abject and turn our worlds upside down etc etc i'm sure you were good for site traffic, so your extensive efforts were not entirely pointless.

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​No. But respect to you for sticking with your polemic and even though you've thoroughly failed to defend the indefensible, trivialise the important, beatify the abject and turn our worlds upside down etc etc i'm sure you were good for site traffic, so your extensive efforts were not entirely pointless.

​Wait, you think that me saying "and they just have again, with your blessing, it seems!" was polemic? A ferocious verbal attack? Firstly, it was by text, and I know in some circumstances in the internet age it is appropriate to converge the two, but in this case, with this word, absolutely not, it is purely for verbal, aggressive shouting, the kind of shouting where you would have been sprayed with crumbs from things I ate earlier. What Clarkson did in fact. You have not been subject to that, not even close, and hilariously, by misusing such a loaded word, you have insulted the poor people who have had to face down such a thing. People like Oisin, for example, who I'm sure would be delighted that you have so trivialised this thing that has turned his life upside down.

As for the indefensible, I am not defending anyone or anything, I am attacking the BBC. I agree, the way they have managed their staff in this case is indefensible, so instead of trying to deflect to a week old conversation in which you threw out ALL of your toys and took your ball home, why don't you answer the question I actually raised in this thread. By all means, if you wish to continue the conversation in which I "defended" Clarksons actions (By which you mean, I asked people to stop making assumptions as to what actually happened and stop flinging around loaded terms before we knew all the facts because idiots like you act like little clingons to Phillip Bloom - who by the way, was not impressed in the slightest by you), reply in that thread, where that was the topic of conversation.

But in this thread, I am posing the questions about the BBC and why they did not act in accordance to the law, why they allowed this situation to happen and how they should have acted, many years ago. If you have a comment to make about that, feel free to, otherwise, back over to the other thread, troll.

 

EDIT: My bad, polemic can be about written words in modern english - in my native tongue we have a word, near identical from the same etymological root which means as I have described it, so apologies about that. In english, it basically has been weakened to the point it means "disagreed with" but I still don't think I was directly disagreeing with you, merely making the point that what you are accusing Clarkson of not getting away with, I am also accusing the BBC of actually getting away with. I don't think that's polemic, by any definition of the word.

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​Wait, you think that this was polemic? A ferocious verbal attack? Firstly, it was by text, and I know in some circumstances in the internet age it is appropriate to converge the two, but in this case, with this word, absolutely not, it is purely for verbal, aggressive shouting, the kind of shouting where you would have been sprayed with crumbs from things I ate earlier. What Clarkson did in fact. You have not been subject to that form of abuse, and hilariously, by misusing such a loaded word, you have insulted the poor people who have had to face down such a thing. People like Oisin, for example, who I'm sure would be delighted that you have so trivialised this thing that has turned his life upside down.

As for the indefensible, I am not defending anyone or anything, I am attacking the BBC. I agree, the way they have managed their staff in this case is indefensible, so instead of trying to deflect to a week old conversation in which you threw out ALL of your toys and took your ball home, why don't you answer the question I actually raised in this thread. By all means, if you wish to continue the conversation in which I "defended" Clarksons actions (By which you mean, I asked people to stop making assumptions as to what actually happened and stop flinging around loaded terms before we knew all the facts because idiots like you act like little clingons to Phillip Bloom - who by the way, was not impressed in the slightest by you), reply in that thread, where that was the topic of conversation.

But in this thread, I am posing the questions about the BBC and why they did not act in accordance to the law, why they allowed this situation to happen and how they should have acted, many years ago. If you have a comment to make about that, feel free to, otherwise, back over to the other thread, troll.

​Aside from your verbose bragging, littered with ad hominem and accusation, the jouissance you obviously get from convoluting and conflating facts and arguments really seems to keep you going (long after it was relevant). Care to post the name of your blog so we can follow your homilies unadulterated (and maybe save a bit of Andrew's bandwidth for 4k video)?

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​Aside from your verbose bragging, littered with ad hominem and accusation, the jouissance you obviously get from convoluting and conflating facts and arguments really seems to keep you going (long after it was relevant). Care to post the name of your blog so we can follow your homilies unadulterated (and maybe save a bit of Andrew's bandwidth for 4k video)?

​No-one think's you're clever. No-one. Troll, continuing to be off topic. If you want to insult me, use the PM system, where I don't have to be restrained with what I say to you.

Can't help but to notice that you have no answers to my questions either, I'll take that to mean you literally can't disagree with anything I said.

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Its really sad that one of the greatest TV shows will never be the same. Jeremy Clarkson was the backbone of the show but he also bears the responsibility for its (probable) demise. He seems to have a problem with understanding that actions have consequences - you see it in pretty much every episode and it really makes for great TV. He behaves as if he is invincible and entertains the hell out of us in the process. Unfortunately this behaviour leaks out into the "real" world and he's got himself into trouble many many times. 

You can argue that he should be given a break but its not an isolated incident. He's really f**ked up a lot and got away with it with a slap on the wrist. The BBC has defended him where it may not have defended others and they have already given him the "star" treatment several times over. He's one of the biggest starts of the corporation and given his serial bad behaviour, which has put the show at risk on a few occasions before, I'm positive that his superiors would have done everything they could have to protect the show. He's put the BBC in a terrible position with his latest actions and he alone is responsible for this.

I spent 4 years working at the BBC and its a very "by the book" organization. Its pretty clear right from the beginning whats acceptable and whats not. Tens of thousands of other employees seem to get the rules. He's worked there for decades, understands the organization and the responsibilities it has to license fee payers and he still screws up like this after many warnings. How many warnings and slaps on the wrist should he be allowed exactly? 

I understand the argument that its a bigger picture; that one of the most popular TV shows on the planet is at risk and that sometimes you need to be flexible with your rules to benefit the greater good. This is fine on short-term productions (like film) or with independent companies that only answer to shareholders, but the BBC cannot afford to be that flexible - its a publicly owned company with a charter, answerable to the people and absolutely cannot be seen to be supporting criminal behaviour. As I said, Clarkson knew this. He knew he was on thin ice and he knew that another f**k up probably signal the end of his employment. He might have been under a lot of stress and fuelled by booze but he still made a conscious decision to do what he did. I'd bet you anything he woke up the next morning and thought to himself "oh dear......."

Its just a sad sad situation. Like many stars, he's the master of his own downfall. His unpredictable and risk-taking character which has helped to take Top Gear to the heights of success is also the cause of its demise.  

Maybe he can take a break on Clarkson island:

​Clarkson island looks hellish :)

I generally agree with your post. It's spot on really. And yes Clarkson is to blame for being sacked.

I am sure there was a better solution though which they couldn't take for political reasons.

Lengthy suspension and a fine possibly.

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It's also a strange situation for the Producer who got hit. Was it one sided? Did Clarkson lead the attack? I ask this because, because I've worked around many a big shot and star. If they ever attacked you, for whatever reason, you'd have to think twice about how to defend your self. Do you defend yourself good and proper (ie. headlock and body slam the wind out of him), guaranteeing a headline "Clarkson Attacked by Producer!" and your prospects go to shit. Or do you take the hits from a drunken slob, hoping you don't get the worse of it, but still remain employable at the end of the day. Clarkson as being the bossman clearly has an advantage in all respects over the Producer. Imagine if I worked in corporate as a mail room guy and my drunken boss attacked me. People rush to the office to find him busted up. Who do you think gets the wrong end of the stick at the end of the day? My guess, the Producer took his hits and Clarkson dug his hole.

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Clarkson obviously believes his entitlement to have a hot meal was worth far more than a Producer's right to work in a violence free work environment. Clarkson perceives his own entitlement is worth far more than a Producer's right to non violent safe and dignified work environment. Lets be clear here, this is how pathetic and despicable Clarkson is! If he does this to someone who has some authority, imagine how he treats the underlings? This is not something that can be excused or sanitised just because he is famous! 

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Yes Henry he obviously believes that whilst drunk, hungry and mad.

But what is he like 99.999% of the rest of the time at work?

He's put in countless years at the BBC without any of these kinds of moments of madness.

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​When you research a little bit, you find out Bale behaved like an ass because he was "in character" at that moment and with an adrenaline rush. He apologised moments after that, and kept working with the crew -Hurlbut included- for several weeks after that with no problem. The incident took place in a closed set -in private- and was made public when "someone" released the tape. Bale's rant was unacceptable though he was right to call Hurlbut's attention -he screwed the take- he was not asking for a late steak.

And I don't know Shane Hurlbut from his "tutorials". He was a established DP already -because novice DP's are not usually in charge of $200M movies- and in a way he was an equal to Bale: sure not as powerful, but the DP is "above the line", probably the 4th in rank on set, has a team of maybe 40 people and is the director's most likely substitute -if he is unavailable for some reason-.

​A little correction. DP's are definitely below the line in the budgetary sense. How do you tell? Who gets residuals and who gets paid hourly. Shane doesn't get residuals and is on an IATSE contract (hourly). AD's, Producers, Principals, Director, UPM all above the line. Unfortunately, DP's are not even close to being equal to name talent on a set. A quick test - who can you fire? Notice that Hurlbut did not talk back. Hurlbut probably knew he was in the wrong - you never conduct business in the talent's eyeline. Easy way for below the line to get canned. Set protocol 101.

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