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Jeremy Clarkson Not Racist For Using Term ‘Pikey,’ Says TV Regulator

Despite being forced out of the BBC, open season on Jeremy Clarkson rolls on. The Traveller Movement has become the latest offence taker to bring a litigious grievance against one of the television presenter’s jokes. Ofcom, however, have ruled that his use of the term “pikey” on screen was not a racist slur, but a joke about a tacky car as he and the BBC Trust maintained.

A spokesman for The Traveller Movement told The Times: “We’re appalled by Ofcom’s decision to uphold the BBC Trust’s defence of what we describe as the ‘p-word.’”

In an episode of Top Gear Clarkson hung a sign that read “Pikey’s Peak” by the starting line of a hill climb, as Richard Hammond pulled up in the infamously tacky Vauxhall Nova. The sign appeared to be a play on words referencing the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, an annual automobile and motorcycle climb to the summit of Colorado’s Pikes Peak.

The BBC Trust argued the word meant “cheap” in this context, citing Wikipedia among other sources, which defines the term as describing “a person of any social class who lives on the cheap.”

The Traveller Movement, however, filed a complaint, in which they claimed “pikey” was an “offensive and derogatory term for gypsies and travellers.”

Ofcom rejected it saying viewers would be “more likely to construe the use of the word ‘pikey’ with it as meaning ‘cheap’ or ‘disreputable’ rather than a pejorative and discriminatory term for gypsies and travellers.” They added, however: “This does not mean that the use of the word ‘pikey’ is acceptable in any programme in any context.”

“We are appalled that Ofcom have followed the BBC Trust’s line and have green-lit the use of ‘pikey’ on Top Gear,” a Traveller Movement spokesman told The Guardian. He continued:

“Their decision that this particular use has no reference to Gypsies and Travellers is bankrupt.

“Instead of investigating our complaint in full, Ofcom has relied largely on the BBC Trust decision which, in turn, relied on Wikipedia.

“Ofcom are in effect saying that the public have been fooled by Top Gear’s deliberately transgressive and racist repeat use of ‘pikey’.

“The Top Gear presenters told them that they didn’t mean it to be racist and Ofcom have taken them at their word. The reference to pegs and heather salesmen which we raised has been ignored.

“The viewing public are not that stupid and Ofcom need to give them more credit. The decision is a victory for racist bullies and we will be meeting with our solicitors, Howe & Co, to consider our options.”

In his illustrious 27-year career at Top Gear, Clarkson’s humour has irked lorry drivers, prostitutes, public sector workers, liberals, Mexicans, Marxists, Indians, Asians, homosexuals, Scots, Koreans, the Welsh, the Irish, black people, Liverpudlians, and now travellers.

He will be sorely missed.

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