Maverick BBC Presenter Makes Racist Fun Of Indian Trains, Toilets, Clothing, Food

London, Dec 31: In his ‘Top Gear' Christmas Special on BBC, maverick British comedian anchor  Jeremy Clarkson has made fun of Indian culture staging a series of ‘Carry On' style digs at India's trains, toilets,
maverick bbc presenter makes racist fun of indian...
PTI December 31, 2011 13:29 IST

London, Dec 31: In his ‘Top Gear' Christmas Special on BBC, maverick British comedian anchor  Jeremy Clarkson has made fun of Indian culture staging a series of ‘Carry On' style digs at India's trains, toilets, clothing, food and history, The Daily Mail reported.
 
At one point, Clarkson  ridiculed the unhygienic conditions and lack of sanitation among the poor in India  by driving around the slums in a Jaguar fitted with a toilet.



A spokesman for the BBC said there have been 23 complaints about content “offensive to India” in the programme, which was broadcast on Wednesday evening.

She added: “If viewers or religious groups want to complain, they can complain to the BBC. We won't be responding through the media.”

After his latest act, many viewers, however, took straight to social networks and internet message boards to voice their objections about the show, in which the Top Gear team set out to boost British trade links with the subcontinent.


 
Clarkson was earlier involved in another controversy earlier this month.

He was forced to apologise after saying striking public sector workers should be shot in front of their families during an appearance on The One Show on BBC1.

In his programme, showing off the Jaguar car's convenience, Clarkson boasted: ‘This is perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots.'

On Twitter, viewers branded Clarkson a ‘Nazi' and dismissed the programme as ‘casual racism'.

Twitter user Joseph Rivera wrote: ‘Top Gear officially sucks. What a bunch of racist b******s.'

And Owen Hathway tweeted: ‘Whats wrong with the BBC that they think casual racist stereotyping is acceptable on top gear?'



In one scene on the programme, Jeremy Clarkson was seen stripping off his trousers in front of two Indian dignitaries to show them how to use a trouser press.

In another shocking set-piece, the Top Gear team put banners promoting British industry on trains.

One read, ‘British IT is good for your company', and another, ‘Eat English muffins'.

But the messages turned obscene when the carriages of the trains split.

Raj Dutta, of the Manchester Indian Association, told the Star that the timing of the show was ‘tasteless' so soon after Mr Bidve's killing, which police are treating as a hate crime.

‘The show itself was also tasteless,' he added.



It is not the first time this year that Top Gear has been embroiled in a racism row. Earlier this year co-presenter Richard Hammond made an insulting parody of Mexicans to describe a Mexican sports car.

Hammond suggested the vehicle reflected the national characteristics of its country of origin.

To wit, ‘a lazy, feckless, flatulent oaf with a moustache, leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus, with a blanket with a hole in the middle as a coat'.

He also described Mexican food as ‘refried sick'. Co-presenter James May ventured it was ‘like sick with cheese on it'.

Clarkson predicted they would not get any complaints, suggesting that the Mexican ambassador would be holding a remote-control and snoring in front of the TV.

But the Mexican ambassador, Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza, was furious.



He described the comments as ‘offensive, xenophobic and humiliating' and the BBC was forced to deliver a personal apology relating to him.

However, the corporation nevertheless refused to acknowledge the wider offence caused, despite a boycott of the BBC by Mexican radio and calls for an internal investigation.

In a statement it said: ‘The show has explained they were making comic use of a stereotype'.
Eventually the BBC's editorial complaints unit upheld criticisms of the show and ruled that it reinforced stereotypes.

And it is not just on Top Gear that Clarkson has caused offence with his remarks.



Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, launched an investigation earlier this month after he said striking public sector workers ‘should be shot' while their families watched.

The comments - made during The One Show on November 30 - led to more than 21,000 complaints to the BBC and almost 800 to Ofcom itself.

Speaking about the strikers, he said: ‘I'd have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.

‘I mean, how dare they go on strike when they've got these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed while the rest of us have to work for a living?'



Besides his comments about India and striking workers, Jeremy Clarkson has been in hot water in a number of other occasions.

Earlier this year the BBC apologised about an item on BBC2's Top Gear which led to the Mexican ambassador complaining about the ‘outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults' made about Mexicans by Clarkson and co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond.

The BBC's editorial complaints unit upheld criticisms of the show and ruled that it reinforced stereotypes.

Clarkson was also roundly condemned earlier this year for comments he made about the energy saving mode on his new television which, he said, made every programme look ‘like it's being presented by Lenny Henry in a cave.'



After those comments, war hero Johnson Beharry, 31, from Grenada, said: ‘Remarks like this just aren't funny. They legitimise racism.'

In February 2009, Clarkson famously called then-prime minister Gordon Brown a ‘one-eyed Scottish idiot' and in November the previous year, the BBC received almost 2,000 complaints when he joked about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.

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