Jeremy Clarkson’s appeal, and what drew many new fans to the show, was his irreverent, sometimes downright rude sense of humor. This left him mired in controversy several times. The first, in 2011, occurred when Clarkson and co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May were discussing the Mastretta MXT, a sports car designed and built in Mexico. All three hosts made multiple comments consisting of offensive stereotypes of Mexican people, followed by a jab at the Mexican Ambassador to the U.K., who was angry enough to write a letter to the BBC about the incident.
Clarkson followed this by using an anti-Asian pejorative in a March 2014 special filmed in Myanmar. Then, in a leaked outtake from a 2013 episode, Clarkson mumbled what sounded like a racial slur against Black people, though Clarkson denied this. Older renditions of the well-known “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” nursery rhyme used this slur, commonly substituted with the word “tiger” today. Clarkson maintains that in one take, he made a generic mumbling noise that unintentionally sounded like the slur he intended to replace. (He used the word “teacher” in the aired version.) While it’s up to the viewer to decide what he said, the BBC was unhappy with the controversy, which led to Clarkson’s final warning.
Later in 2014, the show came under fire for a license plate used in a special filmed in Patagonia that seemingly referenced the Falklands War. However, the BBC later determined this was an unfortunate coincidence.
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