BBC Pulls ‘Top Gear’ after Suspending Jeremy Clarkson for Alleged ‘Fracas’ against Producer

( [email protected] ) Mar 10, 2015 10:30 PM EDT
The British Broadcasting Corp. has suspended TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson on Tuesday “following a fracas” and canceled the airing of three remaining “Top Gear” episodes until the broadcaster completes its investigation. Clarkson, alongside fellow hosts Richard Hammond and James May, have responded on Twitter.
Jeremy Clarkson. Photo: Top Gear

The British Broadcasting Corp. has suspended TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson on Tuesday "following a fracas" and canceled the airing of three remaining "Top Gear" episodes until the broadcaster completes its investigation. Clarkson, alongside fellow hosts Richard Hammond and James May, have responded on Twitter.

According to a short statement issued by the BBC, the internationally-known car commentator and journalist is the only one affected by the suspension. The iconic broadcaster did not elaborate on other reasons behind its decision.

"Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation," the BBC wrote. "No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday."

Nicola Methven of Daily Mirror reported that the "fracas" may have stemmed from a food incident. The event supposedly took place between 54-year-old Clarkson and a producer identified as 36-year-old Oisin Tymon after a filming in Newcastle.

"Jeremy saw red over a catering issue," a source told the Daily Mirror. "He just snapped."

Another source told Methven that the alleged incident happened when Clarkson noticed there was no food available after filming.

"He just saw red and hit the assistant producer, who he blamed for not having organized the food. He snapped," the second source said.

The "Top Gear" hosts exchanged public messages on Twitter shortly after production of the show was halted.

"No Top Gear this weekend, apparently," May, 52, wrote. "How about 633 Squadron instead?"

"No no no," Clarkson replied. "Where Eagles Dare. Much better."

"No, surely, Last of the Summer Wine," Hammond, 45, wrote in response. "No one will notice the difference. Job done."

Clarkson then made a suggestion about what the BBC could substitute as a replacement for the popular show.

"I did some pretty good war documentaries," Clarkson wrote. "They could screen one of those."

"Yes, they could show them," Hammond replied in a jovial manner on Twitter. "OR we could stare at the test card. I liked that."

The controversial car presenter then issued an apology of sorts, which was probably directed at British politician Ed Miliband of the Labor Party. The United Kingdom plans to hold a general election later this year.

"Sorry Ed," Clarkson wrote. "I knocked your 'I'm a human' piece down the news agenda."

According to Patrick Foster and Ben Dowell of Radio Times, the BBC suspended Clarkson after he was accused of punching a male producer. The alleged incident happened last week.

"The alleged assault was only reported to the corporation yesterday, and BBC executives took the decision to suspend Clarkson earlier today," Foster and Dowell wrote on Tuesday.

Before the rest of the episodes were pulled from the schedule, Radio Times reported that this Sunday's show would have featured Clarkson, Hammond and May driving classic cars such as the Fiat 124 Spider, an MGB GT and a Peugeot 304 Cabriolet. The guest for the "star in a reasonably priced car" segment would have been presenter and former England footballer Gary Lineker.

"I don't think I'm ever meant to appear on Top Gear!" Lineker wrote on Twitter.

Radio Times reported that Clarkson and the show were no strangers to controversy. "Top Gear" was forced out of Argentina by violent protesters in 2014 after they thought one of their car's license plates supposedly contained an insulting reference to the Falkland Islands, which Britain and the South American country fought over back in 1982; those islands remain under British control.

"He was also put on what he claimed was a final warning from the BBC after a racism row when he was allegedly caught on camera mumbling the n-word while reciting the nursery rhyme 'Eeny, Meeny, Miny Moe' during filming of the BBC2 program," Foster and Dowell wrote.

Other controversies as reported by Radio Times included protests from mental health charities after Clarkson commented on people throwing themselves under trains as "selfish." He also apologized after making controversial comments on "The One Show" that striking workers should be shot.

Outside of Twitter, Clarkson has not yet made any official comments about his suspension.

According to Daily Mirror, all three hosts were about to finalize and sign three-year deals to continue production of the show. However, all negotiations have also been suspended.

Before the suspended production, Top Gear typically aired Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on BBC2 and could be seen on-demand via BBC iPlayer in the UK. BBC America showed it in the United States on Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT.

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