Jeremy Clarkson deliberately used racial slur, says Ofcom

Jul 28, 2014

Top Gear presenter breached broadcasting standards with 'slope' comment, but won't be punished by BBC

Mike Flokis/Getty Images

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson deliberately used a racial slur on the show, breaking broadcasting guidelines, the UK media regulator Ofcom has ruled.

"After a thorough investigation, Ofcom has found the BBC breached broadcasting rules by including an offensive racial term in Top Gear, which was not justified by context", said the regulator.

After building a wooden bridge over the river Kwai in Thailand,  Jeremy Clarkson turned to his co-presenter Richard Hammond as an Asian man was crossing their bridge and said "that is a proud moment... but there’s a slope on it".

The word 'slope' is used as racist term to describe people of Asian descent.

Top Gear producer Andy Wilman defended the comment, describing it as "a light-hearted wordplay joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it". He said the team was unaware that the term could be seen as offensive, the the Guardian reports.

But following its investigation, Ofcom said the show was scripted in advance and accused the BBC of failing to "take the opportunity, either during filming or post-production, to check whether the word had the potential to offend viewers".

Clarkson also faced widespread criticism earlier this year after using the N-word during a separate recording of Top Gear. He was reprimanded by the BBC and is now on his "final warning", Channel 4 reports.

The BBC said it would take no further action against Clarkson for the slope slur.

A BBC spokesperson said "we dealt with this matter some time ago, the programme apologised at the time and explained the context, and we are now focusing on delivering another series of one of Britain’s best-loved shows."

Some of Clarkson's fans took to Twitter to defend the presenter, saying that Ofcom had only received a few complaints about the episode.

But other social media users were not as forgiving: 

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