BBC Ends Relationship With Jeremy Clarkson; ‘Top Gear’ Hosts Declare ‘End to An Era’

( [email protected] ) Mar 25, 2015 05:45 PM EDT
Jeremy Clarkson
Reuters / Stefan Wermuth

The British Broadcasting Corp. officially announced on Wednesday that it will not renew its contract with controversial "Top Gear" host Jeremy Clarkson after completing its investigation on the fracas incident that happened on March 4.

According to a statement released by BBC Director-General Tony Hall, the broadcaster met with both Clarkson and producer Oisin Tymon as part of its investigation. He made his decision based on the report written by Ken MacQuarrie of BBC Scotland.

"We need distinctive and different voices, but they cannot come at any price," Hall said, inferring to numerous past controversies originating from Clarkson. "Common to all at the BBC have to be standards of decency and respect. I cannot condone what has happened on this occasion."

Hall added that "a physical altercation" happened between Clarkson and Tymon, adding that there was a "sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature."

"For me a line has been crossed," Hall said. "There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations."

The top BBC executive noted that no blame will be assigned to Tymon, who "has behaved with huge integrity." However, he emphasized that his decision should also not diminish Clarkson's "extraordinary contribution" to the BBC.

"I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear. Jeremy is a huge talent," Hall said. "He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come."

Hall concluded his statement by saying "Top Gear" will be back in 2016, adding that it will be "a big challenge" to get its internationally popular show back on the air.

Tymon released a statement that was published on Twitter by BBC Newsbeat. He commended the BBC "for their thorough and swift investigation into this very regrettable incident."

"I've worked on Top Gear for almost a decade, a program I love," Tymon said. "Over that time, Jeremy and I had a positive and successful working relationship, making some landmark projects together. He is a unique talent, and I am well aware that many will be sorry his involvement in the show should end in this way."

Richard Hammond went on Twitter to express his thoughts on Clarkson's fate at the BBC.

"Gutted at such a sad end to an era," Hammond wrote. "We're all three of us idiots in our different ways, but it's been an incredible ride together."

In a video posted by the Guardian, fellow "Top Gear" host James May talked to the press outside his house to react on his colleague being let go.

"Well, apparently they've shot him," May said in a wry tone. "I only found this out by prying information from various BBC sources. No one's actually told me officially until a few moments ago via email."

May said that the entire incident was a "tragedy" in how it played out between the BBC and Clarkson.

"What ought to have been a small instance sorted out easily turned out to something big," May said. "If you'll excuse me, I very desperately have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari."

Before going back inside his house, May was asked about the future of "Top Gear" going forward.

"I'm sure that Top Gear will continue in some way," May said. "You know, it existed before us. It's been reformatted several times."  

May would not elaborate on his future with the show, although he stated that he, alongside Hammond, were part of a "package" deal with Clarkson.

"It works for very complicated reasons that a lot of people don't fully understand," May said. "That will require a lot of careful thought."

Another journalist asked May on who could best replace Clarkson on "Top Gear."

"[As] much as I think he's a knob, I quite like working with Jeremy," May said.

Clarkson changed his employment status on his Twitter bio, writing that he "used to be a presenter on the BBC2 motoring show, Top Gear."

A summary of the investigation surrounding Clarkson and Tymon has been published on the BBC's website.

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