Let me just start off by saying that when I first came across this story last week, I had decided that I wasn’t going to write a piece about it because it simply wasn’t worth the time. But since then things have escalated somewhat, so I’m going to have my two cents.
As you’ve probably heard, the Outrageous Jeremy Clarkson is again at the center of a yet another controversy created by the Daily Mirror. “Jeremy Clarkson n-word shame” it read, on the front page in huge 1-million point font. TL;DR – the Mirror obtained unseen footage from Top Gear’s GT86 / BRZ comparison piece filmed back in 2012. The unseen footage showed Jeremy using the famous “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” children’s counting rhyme as the recommended method to help make the decision between which car you should actually buy. The Mirror claims the “shocking footage” shows Jeremy Clarkson dropping the N-Bomb as part of the rhyme, but in reality the whole phrase was mumbled anyway. To my ears it sounds like he said tigger.
Jeremy hit back on Twitter by categorically stating: “I did not use the N-word. Never use it. The Mirror has gone way too far this time.”
His weekly column in The Sun also referred to the incident: “I’ve been told by the BBC that if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked. And even the angel Gabriel would struggle to survive with that hanging over his head. It’s inevitable that one day, someone, somewhere will say that I’ve offended them, and that will be that.”
He also said the BBC had told him “very firmly” to apologise but added: “Apologising for using the n-word would be the same as apologising for starting the war in Syria. It’s something I hadn’t done. I use the F-word pretty much constantly and the C-word too, especially when I’m talking about James May. But the N-word? No. It’s not in my lexicon.” He also highlighted the fact the the audio-analysis expert used by the Daily Mirror said she could only be 75% certain that the actual N-Bomb had been dropped. Jeremy’s Twitter statement can be viewed here.
Frankly, I think the whole story is ridiculous. Top Gear is one of the most popular shows in the world and inevitably this also means the show and the hosts also have the biggest targets on their backs. What if he did actually say it? His apology for any offense caused was completely genuine. What we have here is just another salvo in the long running battle the Mirror has waged against Jeremy Clarkson for years now. The Mirror has dug up something that Jeremy may or may not have said, two years ago, in a sequence that ended up on the cutting room floor anyway and nowhere near our TV screens. Suddenly the Mirror has a story that is more important than a capsized ferry or a missing Malaysia Airlines plane. Amazing.
Seriously, it’s time for everyone involved to grow up and move on.