The BBC is facing a legal claim of up to £1million after the airing of an episode of motoring programme Top Gear, in which the presenter is said to have uttered a racist slur.
Jeremy Clarkson, the outspoken star of the successful BBC show, is accused of used the word ‘slope’, which some claim is a racial epithet against those of Asian descent.
In the latest episode of the show, the hosts build a bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand. Clarkson is filmed stating: “That is a proud moment, but there’s a slope on it”, as an unidentified Asian man walked across it.
Now, an Indian-born actress is suing the BBC for punitive damages of up to £1m unless the BBC apologises and takes entire show off the air – an unlikely move given the show’s popularity.
Equal Justice, an equalities group which is representing Somi Guha in her case against the BBC, claims that the failure to censure Clarkson and his co-presenter Richard Hammond over remarks made about Mexicans have led to yet another ‘racist’ joke.
The Daily Mail reports: “Hammond branded Mexicans ‘lazy, feckless and flatulent’ while Clarkson claimed its ambassador to the UK would not complain because he would be snoring in front of his embassy TV.”
“The Mexican ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza did make a formal complaint to the BBC and called on the presenters to make a public apology for stirring ‘bigoted feelings against the Mexican people’. Miss de la Torre took legal action against Top Gear but did not pursue it any further after receiving an apology from the BBC.”
Equal Justice’s Lawrence Davies said: “The BBC refuses to tackle serial offender Jeremy Clarkson. The BBC defends his behaviour as British humour but it is offensive, casual racism being used to boost ratings. It is shameful and makes the BBC appear to be institutionally racist.”
The group is unlikely to garner mass support for its cause, given the popularity of Top Gear and Clarkson.