Fury af­ter TV pre­sen­ter ‘mocks In­dian cul­ture’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

OUT­SPO­KEN TV per­son­al­ity Jeremy Clark­son has once again been ac­cused of racism, af­ter mock­ing In­dian cul­ture in a Top Gear Christ­mas spe­cial.

View­ers were fu­ri­ous af­ter Clark­son staged a se­ries of Carry On- style digs at that coun­try’s cloth­ing, trains, toi­lets, food and his­tory.

At one point, the con­tro­ver­sial pre­sen­ter ridiculed the un­hy­gienic con­di­tions and lack of san­i­ta­tion among the poor by driv­ing around the slums in a Jaguar fit­ted with a toi­let.

Show­ing off the car’s con­ve­nience, he boasted: “This is per­fect for In­dia be­cause ev­ery­one who comes here gets the trots.”

A BBC spokesman said there had been 23 com­plaints about con­tent “of­fen­sive to In­dia” in the pro­gramme, broad­cast on Wed­nes­day evening. She added if view­ers or re­li­gious groups wanted to com­plain, “they can com­plain to the BBC”.

“We won’t be re­spond­ing through the me­dia.”

But many view­ers 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.

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: “What’s 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 set­piece, 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.

Adding in­sult to in­jury, the lat­est pro­gramme was shown just two days af­ter the mur­der of In­dian stu­dent Anuj Bidve in Sal­ford on Box­ing Day.

Raj Dhutta, of the Manch­ester In­dian As­so­ci­a­tion, said the tim­ing of the show was ‘'taste­less” so soon af­ter 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 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”. – Daily Mail

‘RACIST’: Jeremy Clark­son

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