Elephant Man joke gets Clarkson his first slap on wrist in four years

Oct 2, 2012

BBC Trust upholds complaint against Top Gear presenter for comparing a Toyota Prius van to people with facial growths

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AFTER four years of insulting people as varied as former PM Gordon Brown ("one-eyed Scottish idiot"), public-sector workers (should be "executed in front of their families"), Mexicans ("lazy" and "feckless"), Indians (unsanitary) and many more with impunity, Jeremy Clarkson has finally been censured by the BBC Trust.

BBC News reported yesterday that its governing body had ruled the Top Gear presenter’s recent comments comparing a Toyota Prius van to facial growths breached the corporation's guidelines on causing harm and offence, and "strayed into an offensive stereotypical assumption". The BBC said it was "genuinely sorry" for causing upset.

The offending episode of the BBC Two show was broadcast in February of this year and the comments took place during an exchange between Clarkson, 52, and his co-host Richard Hammond.

The pair were discussing the Toyota Prius camper van, The Independent reports, which Clarkson referred to as "the elephant car" and began "slurring his speech in reference to Joseph Merrick", who was played by John Hurt in the film The Elephant Man.

Clarkson then said: "You know sometimes you meet somebody who's got a growth on their face and it's actually bigger than their face?"

Hammond performed his straight man role with aplomb, suggesting that this could be Clarkson's own appearance.

"No," Clarkson replied, "I mean one of those really ugly things. No, this is just a face. I'm talking about a growth." He then said it "is not a car that you could talk to at a party unless you were looking at something else is it?"

Despite the BBC's public show of contrition yesterday, the corporation continues to see Top Gear as a prime ratings driver. Last week the show's three presenters - Clarkson, Hammond and James May - signed a new deal which commits them to hosting the show for another three years.

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normally , clarkson and the beeb conspire to produce publc outrage as PR for the neww series of Top Gear. that'll start next week i expect.