Jeremy Clarkson slams BBC over Donald Trump racism row

Jeremy Clarkson has attacked the BBC over Naga Munchetty, Donald Trump racism row.
Jeremy Clarkson; Naga Munchetty. Photo credit: Reuters; BBC

Jeremy Clarkson has attacked the BBC, yet again, this time saying it "tied itself into a new kind of completely inextricable knot" over a Donald Trump racism row.

The controversial Grand Tour star and former Top Gear host was fired from the BBC in 2015 and has lashed out at it with many public criticisms since.

His latest, a column in The Times, was in response to the BBC reversing its decision over presenter Naga Munchetty's comments about Trump's attack on four US congresswomen of colour.

The former Celebrity Apprentice host told Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came".

Three of the four women were born in the US and all are citizens.

Munchetty said during a broadcast that Trump's comments were "embedded in racism", which triggered a complaint.

The BBC partially upheld the complaint, saying she had breached editorial guidelines, but later reversed a decision to sanction her after a public outcry.

That's why Clarkson has chimed in.

"Last week the BBC tied itself into a new kind of completely inextricable knot when it announced very firmly what it thought it should be saying, and then, when everybody got cross with it, decided very firmly that it shouldn't be saying what it very firmly believed it should be saying," he wrote in The Times.

"What disturbs me most of all about this sorry saga, though, is that the BBC has thrown its chief of editorial policy (ed pol), a man called David Jordan, under the bus."

He also referenced his being suspended from the BBC, which happened when he physically attacked a colleague as he wasn't given the exact kind of food he wanted.

"It's well known that towards the end of my time at the BBC, I was embroiled in many noisy arguments with various bits of the management machine. But in all my time there, I never had a single cross word with David or the department he ran."

Clarkson claimed that "everything had to be scrutinised by the ed pol police" while he was working for the BBC, but said they were "guardians of free speech" and were "never the enforcers of management diktats".

Although Clarkson didn't defend Trump's comments, he claimed there was "hysteria" around them.

He insisted that 'ed pol' would have ignored that "and concentrated only on the issue of impartiality".

"Proroguing [ed pol] on a whim, no matter how popular that whim might be, is foolish," he said.

Clarkson's comments in The Times come a week after he caused controversy by attacking climate change activist Greta Thunberg in The Sun.