BBC cuts out Jeremy Clarkson’s homophobia


3:48 pm - July 6th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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The BBC has edited out an exchange from Sunday night’s BBC2 Top Gear which featured an exchange with his guest Alastair Campbell.

Campbell wrote about this exchange on his blog:

I cannot remember how the subject of homosexuality came up, but I said at one point that he wasn’t very sound on gay rights … Oh yes I am, he said, adding, to more laughter from the largely adoring (of him) crowd ‘I demand the right not to be bummed.’

I had the immediate thought that this was unlikely to be broadcast at 8pm on a Sunday, with Songs of Praise still ringing in some ears, but nonetheless chipped in that I suspected he was worried that he might like it. He seemed to enjoy that, and recalled his public school education, though without any detail.

Needless to say the BBC edited out Clarkson’s homophobic remarks in order to maintain his cult of personality.

Clarkson is paid £1 million a year by the BBC.

In 2007 he was nominated for Stonewall’s Bigot of the Year award for refusing to apologise after being reprimanded by BBC bosses for derogatory gay jibes on primetime TV.

The BBC told Pink News that the above exchange was not broadcast because the section had to be cut down from 25 minutes to nine.

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Not sure it was cut to maintain his cult of personality. Possibly because the BBC are scared of giving offence. Possibly because they did need to cut time down. But sadly the comment (and ensuing possible shitstorm) would probably more likely increase his cult of personality.

2. Shatterface

The Songs of Praise comment is a bit ironic seeing as religion is one of the main motivations of homophobia.

Funny how the BBC let this moron, and Lloyd Webber on the air but Alan Sugar has to be taken off at the election time.

Oh silly me, of course they are both tories and won’t upset the brown shirt media.

Seems to me it was only a joke. Not a very good one, but also, not that offensive.

3 – God, I’d forgotten that Labour made Sugar a minister. That really was the apotheosis of pointless populist gesture politics. Thank Christ they’ve gone.

Aww, bless ‘im and his climate-denying cotton socks. I do love Top Gear.

I’m not sure that jokingly stating a personal preference not to be forcibly subjected to anal sex counts as being homophobic, personally, but there you go. I also demand the right not to be bummed.

I’d imagine that the objections to the joke stem from the presumed implication that people who engage in bumming are disgusting, by virtue of doing something that the speaker has stated they do not want to engage in, since anything the speaker doesn’t want to engage in must be disgusting, and the people who do so must be disgusting by extension.

It doesn’t take a genius to see why that’s fairly weak grounds for stating that someone is homophobic.

Overall, I thought that what got through of the clarkson/campbell interview was pretty interesting – and amusing – stuff. And good on Clarkson for following Fry’s lead and refusing to state who he voted for. For all we know, it was UKIP rather than the Conservatives. Or maybe the Greens :p

People take Clarkson too seriously, including his fans, and usually more seriously than he takes himself.

The right to be bummed is a fundamental human right.

There is no corresponding right not to be bummed, at least there is but only as far as the right to not be coerced into anything covers it.

#6

maybe i’m too sensitive – but i detected a bit of a “backs against the walls” attitude… like gays wouldn’t be able to resist him and he wouldn’t be safe around them.

anyway, Ben Summerskill of Stonewall came up with a good response as always:

“Surely the reason Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t want to get bummed is that he needs somewhere to speak out of.”

The right to be bummed is a fundamental human right.

Arf…

#9 – no, a backs-against-the-wall attitude probably permeated the entire thing. Hard to tell for sure from alastair’s recollection of part of a cut-to-shreds conversation, of course.

The meme of horny gays dying to jump one’s tender hetero bones is still as widespread and amusing as the tory troll, bleeding-heart liberal, terrible woman driver or thuggish youth is. Which is to say, reasonably, and mildly to many, very to a few, not at all to some and VERY NOT OMG YOU PHOBE to a tiny tiny few.

They’re all broadly wrong, just like any other stereotype, but they’re all amusing to laugh at. Using them as vehicles for humour does indeed make top gear a bit crass – doesn’t make it, or clarkson, much of a homophobe though.

It’s the first time I’ve heard ‘bumming’ used as a term since I left Doncaster – maybe it’s a regional sort of term.

Not sure I can see homophobia there. A “right not to be bummed” could be taken as “the right not to be anally raped”….something I was sure everyone here would agree with.

13. Luis Enrique

yes, I think the homophobia consists in reacting to a question about gay rights with “oh noes they’re going to bum me! I don’t want to be bummed! LOL!”. That’s what they do, gay people, you see, if you don’t keep your back to the wall, they bum you!

The fact that wanting not to be anally raped is entirely reasonable does not make it a very clever response to a question about gay rights.

Compare:
Q: You’re not very sound on ethnic minority rights
A: Yes I am! I want to right not to be mugged!

(or something similar)

Tim W, I think that’s a shit response from you there.

On the one hand, I’m sure that Clarkson himself is intelligent enough to mean purely as a joke. I don’t like the man, and I despise his politics, but I very much doubt that he’s a raging homophobe.

On the other hand, I fear that large segments of his audience will have had exactly the knuckle-dragging response to this which was outlined in the comments above – based off the “gay men are a threat to all straight men” concept which underlies so much homophobia.

Is it the fault of a comedian if his audience are thick enough to read intolerance from a fairly inoffensive joke? Actually, if he’s earning as much as Jeremy Clarkson is, from a public service body no less… Yeah, I’d say it probably is. Although, since the joke was cut in the end, it all seems a bit of a storm in a teacup.

That’s just it – the link is implied, not express, and since it’s Clarkson we mostly assume (probably rightly) that the implication is there for humorous, rather than poisonous, effect.

Your example is spot on, and if you replaced “ethnic minority” with “young people”, he’d probably use it (blacks-are-violent not being a particularly common or funny meme, but young-oiks-are-criminals being very common and reasonably funny).

Pretty much like the “lazy poles” he included – several times – in past shows, including top ground gear force.

So, he’s crass and vaguely inappropriate and funny because of it, but not homophobic. And we’re all bad, bad, people for laughing at him. Can’t wait for the next episode.

Also, the idea that the kind of people who go on top gear are as thick as two planks of wood is probably slightly more offensive than the original comment. If the waiting list weren’t so long, I’d look into getting tickets for myself and my partner, since I’m sure it’d almost as good as strictly come dancing from a studio-audience vantage point!

17. Luis Enrique

Nick,

but young-people-ophobia isn’t a problem, homophobia is, with tens of thousands of gay people’s lives being made a misery by it to varying degrees (see: being known as gay, whilst still at school). You can’t pull the “we’d say it about X, why not about Y” maneuver without thinking about the context – I couldn’t give two shits about racist jokes concerning Scotsmen for instance. He wouldn’t say the right not to be mugged joke about blacks, and I don’t think the right not to be bummed gag fares much better.

you may say it’s not meant poisonously and it’s not a big deal, and in the main my sympathies are on your side of such arguments – normally I hate people make a fuss out of off colour jokes or “insensitive” vocabulary, but to deny that this joke is homophobic (which is more deserving of phobia – gays who might bum you if you don’t watch out, or gays that have consenting sex with partners just like heterosexual people do) and contributes to an actually existing, widely held, not good news, laddish attitude towards gay people.

The thing that amuses me about Top Gear’s audience is how blatant the audience positioning is for a supposedly non-politically correct show. If you look, it’s pretty easy to detect that the audience is more overwhelmingly male than an average Anaal Nathrakh gig, but what few women there are there will be reliably positioned in key spots in the front row to try and create the illusion the studio audience is diverse.

The funniest story about gormless Jeremy was when he had a puncture, and he could not even change the wheel on his car. Talk about a Muppet. He is always quoting this technology or that technology and yet the man can’t even change the wheel on his own car. Shit, even I can do that.

What a tosser.

Well, the blatant and largely media-and-public-sanctioned discrimination against the young doesn’t extend to infrequent violent incidents, no, but I’d say that it is a problem – and Top Gear uses it for comedic effect – so it is a reasonably good comparison.

Amusingly enough, I was beaten up fairly regularly when I was growing up for being a ‘fucking queer’ (it’s amusing because I’m straight :) ).

It’s not homophobic because, even in the provided context, going from ‘I don’t want gay people to bum me’ to ‘gay people are going to try to bum me’ /does/ involve a leap. An equally reasonable leap to make would be ‘i’m all in favour of gay rights as long as straight rights are upheld too’. Yes, it resonates with a public stereotype about gays, and yes that’s why it’s funny, but even so, that doesn’t make it homophobic. And I wouldn’t say it contributes, or even reinforces, the current stereotype any more than TG’s characterisation of young people as thieves contributes to that stereotype. People who actually believe it will continue to do so (and they’d be unlikely to change their mind if challenged anyway), people who don’t will get the reference to the stereotype and either laugh because it’s funny, or get offended because it’s playing on a stereotype.

Tim – the audience selection process for top gear actually means that you have to club together in groups of four – two women, two men – to buy tickets. Pink News complained about that in 2009 because it was ‘discriminating against gay couples’ (sure it was). So if the audience is male-dominated, that’s because women aren’t showing up to take their ‘seats’ (OK, it’s a standing audience, but you know what I mean). Given the packed nature of the stage, every show, and the fact that I’ve not spotted an obvious male bias in the audience myself, I’m going to call bull on that :).

#20

Well, I’ll take your word for it, but next time there’s ten minutes between tv programmes and I switch over to Dave, I’ll be scouring carefully. I suppose it could be the case that men are so desperate to get on to the programme they invent fictitious women who miraculously develop flu on the day ;p

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2009/12/01/gay-couples-barred-from-top-gear-audience/ – I should get back in the habit of referencing, I guess :).

The only thing the BBC could do to combat people inventing fictitious women would be to turn away any group of four that wasn’t fully filled up with people carrying photo ID, I guess. Maybe they already do that – I don’t know.

I must admit, I’ve been quite impressed by the /lack/ of bias towards pushing the prettier women to the front, as you’d expect on most shows. Whenever I’m looking, I tend to spot a few pretty ones, and a fair few less-pretty ones.

So, yeah. Lots of the show is staged, but I don’t think the audience is one of them.

23. Matt Munro

Nothing to do with protecting his “cult of personality” more to do with protecting the BBC from whining pressure groups.

This is hardly news, similar thing happended to Jonathan Ross (some joke about crystal ken I think) but he’s the poster boy of rich metropiltan London liberals so therer was mysteriously no fuss.

24. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Needless to say the BBC edited out Clarkson’s homophobic remarks in order to maintain his cult of personality.

Not sure what you mean, I think I agree in the sense that Clarkson’s fictional persona that he uses on TG is that of ‘ignorant bar room twat’ – I seem to recall he even said in that Campbell interview “I don’t believe what I say anymore than you do” or words to that effect. He’s playing the pleb audience and in fairness does so very well.

Editing his remarks out gives the nutters a chance to scream about ‘pc gone mad’ and ‘censorship’ thus Clarkson’s popularity derived from his faux stupidity is given a little boost, everyone’s a winner.

The funniest story about gormless Jeremy was when he had a puncture, and he could not even change the wheel on his car. Talk about a Muppet. He is always quoting this technology or that technology and yet the man can’t even change the wheel on his own car. Shit, even I can do that.

He’s always been fairly open about the fact he doesn’t really know anything about how cars actually work unless it’s been explained to him by the press guy who comes along with the car.

25. Chaise Guevara

“Also, the idea that the kind of people who go on top gear are as thick as two planks of wood is probably slightly more offensive than the original comment. ”

If you apply it to ANYONE who goes on Top Gear, yes. But saying that the a group of people who tend to cheer anyone who slags off speed cameras or traffic warden probably have, on average, an IQ of below 100 doesn’t seem that controversial.

26. Just Visiting

Chaise -you take the biscuit.

It’s nearly always wrong to make assumptions about a person, based on a particular view they hold.

If the Daily Mail or the Tories do it – the general LC consensus is to go into hyperdrive!

So why is it OK for you to do it.

And why over the issue of speed cameras?

Are you saying there are no credible views on speed cameras other than that they are a 100% good thing? (which I guess is your view).

Not entirely sure that Campbell is on solid ground suggesting that someone else is ‘unsound’ on gay rights. He is, after all, always eager to use the Cameron and Clegg as lovers motif, which often has more than a whiff of homophobia about it.

What Clarkson said was clearly homophobic, and the BBC was right to cut it.

28. Matt Munro

@25 “But saying that the a group of people who tend to cheer anyone who slags off speed cameras or traffic warden probably have, on average, an IQ of below 100 doesn’t seem that controversial.”

I do both and my Stanford Binet was 129 at last measure. The left, again, indulging in their self-reinforcing delusion that leftiness corellates with intelligence (it doesn’t, statistically speaking the opposite is true)

29. Roger Mexico

“Are you saying there are no credible views on speed cameras other than that they are a 100% good thing? (which I guess is your view).”

Well if you believe going too fast can be dangerous and that laws should be enforced fairly and with evidence, it’s rather hard to argue otherwise. (Obviously this is different from saying a particular speed limit is valid or not).

Meanwhile LC’s most popular thread on “Unfunny Joke not Broadcast” continues.

“Nothing to do with protecting his “cult of personality” more to do with protecting the BBC from whining pressure groups.”

Nothing like seeing a troll projecting.

31. Matt Munro

Sally – He is winding up the the left (who always take the bait) and the right (no-one is that right wing, all the time, on every subject). Did you know his parents made their money from the Paddington bear toys that were all the rage when I was a kid.

“(no-one is that right wing, all the time, on every subject). ”

Oh yes they are.

Clarkson gets to say a lot of things, and the tory media say nothing. Yet if Ross or some left of centre comic cracks a joke the Mail or Torygraph is demanding they be sacked.

Obviously right wing politically correctness is more palatable to the BBC because they get less grief.

I don’t think Clarkson’s comments should be taken too seriously. He is an actor, and this is his persona, It’s sad that we have such a ”not in front of the children” attitude for everything.

Though the week before, the show was terribly ”homophobic” – or ‘silly and not very funny’ depending on how you look at it.

They were out at a track having various people turn up to race a car, when Clarkson suddenly announced he had to leave to ”buy his wife a birthday present” – just as a comedy camp gay man turned up – and Richard Hammond was stuck with him …. with whom he got physically very close – and Hammond was grimacing as the camp man bent over in front of him and limbered up doing excersises.

It was obvious that Clarkson had left to avoid the camp man.

It was homophobic in a way that Carry on Camping with Sid James and Barbara Windsor was sexist.

But is this kind of thing worth complaining about?

Mmm, S15E01 was absolutely hilarious. As was the Woss episode with Clarkson and that comedy gay man (completely forgotten his name, actually. Louis something?).

Terribly un-PC only from the overly PC point of view.

35. Just Visiting

Roger Mexico 29

Does it show your lack of imagination – or unwillingness to allow any views except ones you agree with?

How about sensible views such as:
* people know where the speed cameras are -so traffic needlessly slows down and speeds up afterwards = more noise, fumes + fuel usage

You so sure that on the basis of just one fact: that people would agree with the above – that this means they are below average intelligence?

Ha Ha.

36. Gaf the Horse

Go and see Stewart Lee’s current live show. He spends a huge amount of it slowly deconstructing Top Gear and it’s “laddish” attitudes and generating a huge amount of fairly edgy material. A nice counter point to the pathetic ramblings of Clarkson.

Do you mean this Gaf the Horse? About the serious accident Richard Hammond had?

During one show last week, Lee said: ‘I wish he had died in that crash and that he had been decapitated and that his head had rolled off in front of his wife and that a jagged piece of metal debris from the car had got stuck in his eye and blinded him.

‘And then his head had rolled on a few more yards into a pool of boiling oil and that his head had retained just enough neural capacity for him to be able to think “ooh, this is bit hot” before the whole thing exploded into tiny pieces.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1209921/What-prompted-comedians-tirade-old-schoolmate-Richard-Hammond.html

I thinkl that Stewart Lee is a prick for saying that.

I thinkl that Stewart Lee is a prick for saying that.

I don’t think Lee’s comments should be taken too seriously. He is an actor, and this is his persona, It’s sad that we have such a ”not in front of the children” attitude for everything.

39. Col. Richard Hindrance (Mrs), VC, DSO and Bar, Buffet, Dancing 'til Late

@Larry T

Ha ha ha! Spot on!

That, as you well know, was the whole point of Stewart Lee’s routine: Supporters of Clarkson excuse any offensive and unfunny shit he says with “Cuh! God! It’s just a joke! God, you lefties are soooo humourless.”

But they sure as shit can’t take it. The po-faced PC pricks.

40. Chaise Guevara

“Are you saying there are no credible views on speed cameras other than that they are a 100% good thing? (which I guess is your view).”

and

“The left, again, indulging in their self-reinforcing delusion that leftiness corellates with intelligence (it doesn’t, statistically speaking the opposite is true)”

Both fair questions, especially as I didn’t elaborate. Firstly: is there some bias on my part here? Almost certainly, it’s hard to avoid. So it’s fair to say that I’m speaking from a non-impartial perspective here.

However, I would say there is such a thing as a stupid political opinion. One example broadly on the right might by the idea that trying to stop teenagers finding out about sex will stop them from doing it. One broadly on the left might be that the words “manual” and “history” are sexist because of their component syllables. Note the use of the word ‘broadly’ before accusing me of straw manning you.

I’m using one example from each camp there because I don’t want to say that right-wing opinions are stupid. They’re not. I have no idea whether a high IQ correlates with either the left or right wing, but even if it does, that wouldn’t make that branch of politics correct. I’m talking about an opinion born of poor thinking rather than trying to brand one whole political side as stupid or wrong.

I believe that most people who think that speed cameras are oppressive or that traffic wardens are bastards fall into the “stupid opinion” category. Not all of them; there are serious arguments against both. In general, however, it seems to stem from the inability to see that it’s ridiculous and hypocritical to be in favour of the existence of a police force while demonising those people and instruments that might catch you breaking the law. It simply shows an inability (or refusal) to think things through.

41. Chaise Guevara

One other thing:

“It’s nearly always wrong to make assumptions about a person, based on a particular view they hold.”

Read my post, mate. I specifically say that it’s unfair to apply the trend to individuals.

What Clarkson said was clearly homophobic, and the BBC was right to cut it.

Actually, no! I’d like the idiot to be shown as what he actually is.

Ha ha ha! Spot on!

Well OK – but Hammond had nearly died in that crash … but anyway.

I’m sorry to go on about Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson all the time in these columns, but I do think it is the most important television programme of our times, and I hope that any future social commentator and/or philosopher will have the sense to realise as much. It is the most pro-risk, pro-masculine show in our risk-averse, feminine times. This is why it appeals to non-petrolheads; indeed, why it appeals to people who can’t even drive, like myself. Top Gear, with any luck, will be regarded as a cultural barometer of the 2000s.

Who the hell would say that!

Oh, of course, those ”climate deniers”.
http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/5451/

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2868/

In their various expressions of barely concealed contempt for Top Gear’s viewers, these critics fail to recognise that most viewers see the programme as a bit of fun – and will see these critics for the killjoys that they are. The critics cannot even bring themselves to acknowledge that speed is an enthralling and joyous sensation that helps people feel liberated from the constraints of the everyday and the mundane. By casting peoples’ desires to experience such sensations as illegitimate, even when lived vicariously through the antics of TV presenters, many commentators are essentially stigmatising a vast swathe of our society.

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/1702/

@Sunny

What good would broadcasting that clip do?

Anyone likely to be offended by what he said would continue to think he was an idiot to be ignored. Anyone not offended would continue to think he was just smashing.

I am gay, and I think Clarkson’s lack of political correctness is really funny, I am sick of all the people censoring everything funny just because it may offend 100 people, that sounds like a lot of complaints, but there could be a million others who find it funny

46. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

During one show last week, Lee said: ‘I wish he had died in that crash and that he had been decapitated and that his head had rolled off in front of his wife and that a jagged piece of metal debris from the car had got stuck in his eye and blinded him.

‘And then his head had rolled on a few more yards into a pool of boiling oil and that his head had retained just enough neural capacity for him to be able to think “ooh, this is bit hot” before the whole thing exploded into tiny pieces.’

Then Trigger made a face.

Trying to support your argument (or, indeed, any argument) by citing Spiked is like trying to support a leftie argument by citing George Galloway.

Irrespective of the claim being made, the source is so monumentally distrusted and derided by everyone on both sides who isn’t an extremist loony, that you’d really have done better not to bring it up…

48. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

@47

In fairness I’d agree with this part –

Top Gear, with any luck, will be regarded as a cultural barometer of the 2000s.

Top Gear largely is an indication of what occurred during the last decade – it became quite fashionable to be stupid, or at the very least to feign stupidity.

Clarkson openly admits that he knows nothing about the workings of an automobile, yet he’s paid millions to give his opinion on them, coupled with the fact they got rid of the chap who actually appeared to know something about cars pretty early on and that’s about as a fine an allegory for the noughties as you’ll get.

How strange. Looking up the school that Lee and Hammond went to (I was wondering where two such different characters might have gone) I realise that they would have been taught by my uncle.

Not important or anything but fascinaiting to me at least…

In addition to Clarkson, I also love comedians who take the mick out of him and top gear – I had an epic laugh yesterday rewatching the impressions show version, where Clarkson burns a lot of money, Hammond buries it and, May spends it all on expensive wine. Obviously, May wins the challenge (“waste a pile of money”).

Comedy based around vicariously hoping they all die might, or might not, be funny – I’ve not seen it. Might see if I can catch it sometime to further fuel my Clarkson obsession.

When TG does deign to look at cars, it’s not a show that focuses on how cars work. It focuses on how fun they are to drive – knowing the ins and outs of how a (plucking a term at random) DSG works isn’t particularly important for that. And May does understand “all that technical stuff”, but it’s not something the audience cares about so it doesn’t get any airtime. And good :). AIUI, pre-new-top-gear, it wasn’t a particularly funny show.

Overall, I think it’s a good – and valuable – show, even if it is does occasionally veer into humerous anti-young, anti-old, anti-Pole, anti-gay, anti-woman or anti-intelligent polemic. It certainly beats a lot of the other stuff BBC 2 comes out with :D

51. the a&e charge nurse

A few further examples of Clarkson at full throttle;

“The Suzuki Wagon R should be avoided like unprotected sex with an Ethiopian transvestite”

“I’m sorry, but having a DB9 on the drive and not driving it is a bit like having Keira Knightley in your bed and sleeping on the couch.”
http://mycarblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/1-aston-martin-vanquish-s-ultimate-edition.jpg
http://gossip.whyfame.com/files/2009/12/keira_knightely.jpg

“This is the Renault Espace, probably the best of the people carriers. Not that that’s much to shout about. That’s like saying ‘Ooh good I’ve got syphilis, the BEST of the sexually transmitted diseases.’”

“I don’t understand bus lanes. Why do poor people have to get to places quicker than I do?”

Clarkson’s highway code on cyclists: “Trespassers in the motorcars domain, they do not pay road tax and therefore have no right to be on the road, some of them even believe they are going fast enough to not be an obstruction. Run them down to prove them wrong.”

“Britain’s nuclear submarines have been deemed unsafe…probably because they don’t have wheel-chair access.”

On Mandela’s claim that Cuba is a good advert for democracy: “Well Mr Mandela why don’t you go and ask one of the 12 year old Cuban prostitutes which way her parents voted?”

On the Lotus Elise: “This car is more fun than the entire French air force crashing into a firework factory.”

“I don’t often agree with the RSPCA as I believe it is an animal’s duty to be on my plate at supper time.”

Apologies in advance for any group that might feel offended that they are not amongst the groups offended by Clarkson.

John b, on the people at Spiked, I just take each article on it’s own merits, and don’t bother the environmental stuff as it’s too complicated. They often make good points, and on Top Gear they are on to something. About certain kinds of leftists.

On another liberal-left forum a couple of years ago, some people had slagged off Clarkson and Top Gear, and a couple of them were rather po-faced and miserable I thought.

They had this on-going thread which was to post any jokes or humorous things you’d seen, so I posted up this bit of stupidity from Clarkson that I’d seen in the Sun.
It’s so obviously not to be taken seriously that anyone who objected to it too much had to be a right old missery guts.

Oh dear. It seems some animal rights weird beards have got their hairy undershorts in a twist because Gordon Ramsay has used some ferrets to kill a rabbit.

I don’t understand. Gordon was killing a rabbit so he could put it in a pot with some onions and a splash of red wine and make a tasty lunch for his family. A fox on the other hand, will kill a rabbit for fun. And yet these same animal enthusiasts, who think Gordon should have a hand grenade put up his back bottom, reckon foxy woxy should be given social security and a nice house in the country.

It seems therefore that it’s all right for an animal to kill an animal.

But it’s not all right for a human being to do exactly the same thing.

Not really that funny – but hilarious when one woman on the liberal site really objected and said there must be something wrong with me to think that was funny.

I’m not a fan of top gear. They go to Germany all the time, and every time it’s WW2 and 1966 jokes and mocking the language – but all the same it’s pretty harmless.

I think that ”the joke” is really on anyone who takes him seriously.

Damon, let me see if I’ve understood you right. Jokes about wars in which millions died = harmless. Jokes about car-crashes in which no-one died = disgraceful. Jokes about being anally raped = fine.

54. Baying Lynch Mob

I think that ”the joke” is really on anyone who takes him seriously.

I might follow that line of argument if I didn’t know someone who was nearly run down by him while out cycling.

Jokes about wars in which millions died = harmless. Jokes about car-crashes in which no-one died = disgraceful. Jokes about being anally raped = fine.

Kind of depends on the joke. Wishing that Richard Hammond had been decapitated so that his wife could watch him die is in pretty poor taste. But then I think that Stewart Lee’s jokes consist of taking a moderately funny idea and then spending 25 minutes slowly and repetitively beating it to death with a shovel.

Would you know it? Books by R&B stars aren’t very good! Let me tell you about it, again and again, for half an hour. Won’t that be fun?

Ironically enough, Top Gear is just about the most homo-erotic show on TV, in a flicking-one-another’s-arses-with-a-wet-towel kind of way.

Tim J doesn’t get Stewart Lee. Why am I not surprised?

“Put simply, if Clarkson can say the prime minister is a one-eyed Scottish idiot,” adds Lee giggling, “then I can say that I hope his children go blind.”

Of course he can say that. He’s just a prick for doing so.

On the other hand, I thought Jerry Springer the Opera was rather good.

“I thinkl that Stewart Lee is a prick for saying that.”

Always good to see trolls pushing right wing polical correctness.

As for speed cameras, middle calss tories hate anyting that shows up their law breaking.

Having already been called ”Pinochet like” by ‘Nick Cohen is a Tory’, and with Sally calling everone who even slightly has a different view ”trolls” every five minutes, I should be slightly reluctant to reply to Larry T’s point @53 – but whatever – here goes:

I don’t think they laugh at the World War Two dead Larry. If you think that it’s funny to wish Richard Hammond to die in front of his wife then that’s fine. Though why he singles out Hammond I’m not sure. They went to the same school and I’ve heard it’s something personal – which would be fine too.

If it’s because Lee thinks that Top Gear is a neanderthal abomination though, because it gives the idea to the lumpen proles that cars and speed can be fun – and that petrolheads are backward people (not like him and his audience it comes across like he’s saying when I’ve seen him on TV) …. if he pontificates that, then he is a twat IMO.

On ”bumming” and being ”bummed”. Really, big deal.
Let’s not get so upset by Homer Simpson type gags.
In fact, that reminds me of when I mentioned on another website something that Homer had said on the Simpsons …… when he had lost his driving licience and needed to get to the bar. Lisa had said that he could take the bus, to which Homer retorted: ”Take the bus? That’s for jerks and lesbians”.
Oh dear. One guy reckoned I must have a problem with lesbians …. and no amount of my trying to explain that it was Homer saying that, and it wasn’t to be taken seriously would placate him.

It seems that we have gone from the extreme of Section 28 just a few short years ago, to another kind of intolerance that sees anyone veering off the PC script on homosexuality or gay marriage, as someone to be condemned and castigated.

And don’t Stewart Lee and his audience just love doing that? It bigs them up no end.
”Aren’t we superior to those oiks and plebs that are the great unwashed?” seems to be the suggestion ….. to all present’s smug satisfaction.

61

Just like a said right wing political correctness.

Ha ha Sally @60. When I started typing out my last post, Sally’s comment was not there.
So it couldn’t be plainer than that. It’s a kind of ”which side are you on?” situation.

64. Shatterface

Clarkeson and chums drove through the Bible Belt with ‘Man Love’ painted on their car so they’re not above satirising homophobia too.

Lets see ‘edgy’ Stewart Lee risk being shot at.

@62 – Always remember the old adage that I have just this moment made up

“If you only have one wing your just gonna end up flying in circles.”

Think about it lil’ lady

“Clarkeson and chums drove through the Bible Belt with ‘Man Love’ painted on their car”

Shatterface – you do know some things on television are make-believe, don’t you?

Aren’t we superior to those oiks and plebs that are the great unwashed?” seems to be the suggestion ….. to all present’s smug satisfaction

To some extent, yes. Similarly the take-away message from Top Gear is “Aren’t we superior to those environmentally-concerned Guardian-reading lefties?”….. to all present’s smug satisfaction.

Incidentally I’m quite relaxed about Clarkson’s hilarious witticisms about krauts and faggots bumming him, so don’t put me down as one of your PC brigade.

I’m just pointing out your ridiculous double standards, which are: bad-taste jokes are fine and dandy when they come from Top Gear and coincide with your particular prejudices. But you burst into tears when they come from the opposing perspective. Seriously – when Clarkson slags off vegetarians as lunatics, then you’re rolling on the floor at his gloriously risque humour. But when someone else slags off petrolheads as the bunch of fuckwitted nanderthals they are, then you immediately do a Mary Whitehouse impression. How dare he be so nasty. How dare he think he’s better than them. Is there some reason you think that petrolheads deserve more respect than vegetarians? Yes there is – you’re a petrolhead and not a vegetarian – and that’s all there is to it.

Ditto Lee joking about Hammond’s car-crash is in terrible taste, and what a terrible prick he is. But Clarkson making exactly the same joke about how he enjoys deliberately running over cyclists is a wonderful blow for freedom against the PC brigade, and how we do love him for it.

Ditto Lee joking about Hammond’s car-crash is in terrible taste, and what a terrible prick he is. But Clarkson making exactly the same joke about how he enjoys deliberately running over cyclists is a wonderful blow for freedom against the PC brigade, and how we do love him for it.

Running an elaborate routine where you fantasise about someone in particular dying in front of his wife is not exactly the same as advocating running over cyclists. It just isn’t. In the same way that calling Gordon Brown a one-eyed Scottish idiot is not exactly the same thing as wishing that Jeremy Clarkson’s children were blinded.

You can make perfectly good arguments that all four jokes are acceptable/ unacceptable or funny/unfunny. But they’re not on the same level of offensiveness and it’s silly to pretend that they are.

69. Luis Enrique

isn’t it possible for a joke to be both homophobic (which I think it was) and also no big deal, not worth getting worked up about (which I’m unsure about).

the question of whether the odd good-natured (let’s grant that) homophobic gag is something worth objecting to reminds me of voting. One person’s vote is insignificant, to the extent that lots of people go around saying things like it’s not even rational to vote. But voting en mass – democracy – is very important. The odd homophobic gag is insignificant, but it’s (arguably) part of a bigger thing that does matter.

there’s a difference between “offensive” jokes, (Russell Brand and Manuel’s grandaughter, Jim Carr, amputee veterans and the para-Olympics) and jokes that are in sympathy with something like homophobia and racism that actually out there, to do with some people’s attitudes towards some other people, and doing some real harm. Jokes like Homer says buses are for lesbians are not in sympathy with homophobia, it seems to me “I don’t want to get bummed!! LOL!” is. You could still argue it’s harmless, meant and taken in jest, and maybe that’s true, but rather like you could say there’s a virtue in voting, I think you could say there’s merit in not laughing along with jokes like that.

“I think you could say there’s merit in not laughing along with jokes like that.”

Whether you laugh along or not is of course entirely up to you. But there’s something of a line crossed if you go on to say that other people shouldn’t laugh at what you don’t.

And a much more important line crossed if you say that people should not be allowed to say what you find not funny.

71. Luis Enrique

Tim W @70

yes, but has anybody here strayed over those lines? I certainly haven’t. I’ve merely expressed an opinion concerning some things other people choose to do.

72. Watchman

Neil @66,

That one wasn’t make believe. Just a spectacularly stupid idea (although very funny). But you are missing a fair point here – this thread is comparing (for reasons that I can’t figure) out Top Gear and Stewart Lee (both of which are funny products most of the time). But you have to admit Top Gear do tend to take their humour a bit more experientally – they do go to the places they film in, including dangerous places, rather than sitting in a studio. They do take risks. And they tend to ignore all the rules that people try and put in place – do not drive up mountains, do not drive to the North Pole, do not risk offending people. And that is why they are more popular than Stewart Lee, whose humour is generally based on close observation of those rules (and therefore is more exclusive of those who do not observe rules).

And in terms of risk, inviting someone you know is politically opposed to many of your show’s viewpoints on as a guest is clearly up there as well. Hence this thread…

Running an elaborate routine where you fantasise about someone in particular dying in front of his wife is not exactly the same as advocating running over cyclists.

You’re right. One of them is a joke at the expense of a TV celebrity, who is in fact alive and well. The other is guaranteed to upset thousands of genuinely bereaved people sitting at home. What’s more one of them is a deliberately ridiculous fantasy, while the other is rather close to reality: lots of cyclists really are killed by Clarksonian drivers who don’t give a stuff about anything except themselves and their big fast cars.

In the same way that calling Gordon Brown a one-eyed Scottish idiot is not exactly the same thing as wishing that Jeremy Clarkson’s children were blinded.

Right – so taking the piss out of people who really are blind, for being blind – that’s ok. But absurdist flights of fancy about people who are not blind and not likely to be – that’s the disgrace.

Right – so taking the piss out of people who really are blind, for being blind – that’s ok. But absurdist flights of fancy about people who are not blind and not likely to be – that’s the disgrace.

Leaving aside the cyclist gag – which is about as funny as the ’10 points for a nun’ joke that someone is guaranteed to say when driving past one – it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to accept that calling Gordon Brown a one-eyed Scottish idiot (two facts, one opinion) is not the same as hoping that somone’s children go blind.

If someone took the piss out of me for any aspect of my appearance or character I doubt I’d get too riled. If they said they hoped my daughter went blind, I’d chin them. They’re qualitatively different things.

two facts, one opinion

What, like calling someone a fat black bitch? That might get you chinned too, and most people would consider it fairly offensive. In this case, it’s obvious that calling him “one-eyed” is intended to be pejorative, rather than a neutral fact he decided to slip in. Well I guess it’s all subjective, but I’d say latching onto someone’s disability and shouting about it to insult and denigrate them is fairly high up the offensiveness scale.

As for Lee’s comment, if he really did want Clarkson’s children to go blind, or Hammond to die, then I’d agree with you about what a terrible man he is. But guess what though? He doesn’t.

76. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

@50

When TG does deign to look at cars, it’s not a show that focuses on how cars work. It focuses on how fun they are to drive – knowing the ins and outs of how a (plucking a term at random) DSG works isn’t particularly important for that. And May does understand “all that technical stuff”, but it’s not something the audience cares about so it doesn’t get any airtime. And good :) . AIUI, pre-new-top-gear, it wasn’t a particularly funny show.

When you claim a car ‘heavily understeers’ because you don’t understand what causes limit understeer and that you’re currently doing it, that’s a problem. When you thrash a four cylinder hybrid around a track (thus negating the hybrid bit and leaving you with a relatively small four cylinder engine) trying to keep up with a v8 bmw that was designed to go around tracks at high speed, then claim the bmw is more fuel efficient when it uses less fuel to operate at those otherwise illegally high speeds (thus relying on the clueless nature of your own audience to take away a highly misleading picture) that too is an issue.

If you’re going to accept awards for being a ‘factual program’ you can’t plead to be an entertainment show one minute then claim to be an authoritative voice the next, regardless of how convenient it might be to fall back on – “it’s just entertainment you filthy lefty, deal with it”.

Unlike Clarkson, May is clearly interested in how things work, unfortunately that doesn’t correlate with comprehension, this was best demonstrated by his highly misleading segment on the Honda Clarity where he proceeded to talk absolute drivel for ten minutes about something he didn’t understand, like Clarkson he seems to get most of his information from the PR people who loan them the cars.

As I said, TG is indicative of the demonisation of expertise prevalent during the last ten years, though it is entertaining once you realise the veneer of self satisfied stupidity is simply to sate the plebs and that they absolutely lap it up.

What, like calling someone a fat black bitch? That might get you chinned too, and most people would consider it fairly offensive.

Just to be clear – are you now arguing that ‘one-eyed Scottish idiot’ is “exactly the same” as ‘fat black bitch’? Because if so, that rather explains your line of argument above.

As for Lee’s comment, if he really did want Clarkson’s children to go blind, or Hammond to die, then I’d agree with you about what a terrible man he is. But guess what though? He doesn’t.

You see, I don’t think you’re reading what I’m writing. I don’t think (and haven’t said) that Stewart Lee’s a terrible man. I have no problem with him making jokes about what the hell he likes – his whole schtick is to be offensive and edgy. I just think that gags about hoping kids go blind are not exactly the same as calling the Prime Minister a one-eyed Scottish idiot. I’m not entirely sure of why you’re finding this so hard to grasp.

76 – Well quite, hence the US’s decision that they were not a factual programme but an entertainment one. Looks about right to me.

79. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Shame the British haven’t quite realised that and insisting on dishing out multiple ‘most popular factual programme’ awards to them.

Which of course TG is more than happy to accept.

Obviously, if I say X is “exactly the same” as Y, unless X and Y are literally one and the same thing, then a sufficiently persistent pedant can always catch me out, I guess.

Perhaps I should rephrase? I do not accept that there is any significant difference, in terms of the degree of offensiveness, between joking about Jeremy Clarkson’s disciples killing cyclists by driving like stupid bastards, and Richard Hammond killing himself by driving like a stupid bastard. If anything, the former strikes me as slightly more offensive, because it actually happens, very often, and therefore we’re joking about real deaths, whereas Richard Hammond is alive and well. You seem to think that the latter is orders of magnitude more offensive than the former, for reasons I think I just about understand, namely the gory details Lee went into. To me, these are superficial details, and so obviously absurd that they can’t be taken seriously.

I don’t think (and haven’t said) that Stewart Lee’s a terrible man.

No, Mr Logic, you said that he is a “prick” because his jokes are “in pretty poor taste”. Are you splitting hairs for fun now?

Larry T @67

To some extent, yes. Similarly the take-away message from Top Gear is “Aren’t we superior to those environmentally-concerned Guardian-reading lefties?”….. to all present’s smug satisfaction.

Incidentally I’m quite relaxed about Clarkson’s hilarious witticisms about krauts and faggots bumming him, so don’t put me down as one of your PC brigade.

I wouldn’t dream of it. I guess it all depends on where you feel about where the balance of forces lie.

If you think that the oiks are in a dominant position in society, and that sensitive souls are a beleaguered minority, you may well think they are justified in ‘hitting back’ with their caustic Ben Elton type humour against the likes of Clarkson and his ilk.

In the same way, if you think that some people on the left are far to wallflower like, and are always seeing barbarians at the gate that need constantly reppelling, (when that’s not really the case) ….. then you might sometimes even end up agreeing with some of Clarkson’s daft musings.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/system/topicRoot/The_wit_and_wisdom_of_Jeremy_Cl/

But when someone else slags off petrolheads as the bunch of fuckwitted nanderthals they are, then you immediately do a Mary Whitehouse impression.

I’ll try not to do any more Mary Whitehouse impressions.
Is it OK to use the expression ”what a bummer” these days?

I thought he was out of order for his ”one eyed idiot” jibe btw – but when you’re trying to be funny and always trying to ”push it” – you’re bound to get it wrong sometimes.

I don’t find him particularly funny at all, and am not really a fan of the programme, as I find it too contrived, but I am interested in the controversy it generates.

The ”Top Gear bars gay men from the show” headlines I hadn’t heard before.
It’s a bit pathetic that Pink News and gay rights people even went with the story in the way that they did. Make accusations in headlines, and then admit later that nothing of the sort was intended, and it’s just a bit of oversight.
http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2009/12/01/gay-couples-barred-from-top-gear-audience/

It’s one way of advancing gay rights I suppose, but is not the method I would choose.

82. Shatterface

‘You see, I don’t think you’re reading what I’m writing. I don’t think (and haven’t said) that Stewart Lee’s a terrible man. I have no problem with him making jokes about what the hell he likes – his whole schtick is to be offensive and edgy.’

No, you are confusing him with the genuinely funny and subversive Richard Herring. Stewart Lee instinctively recoils from anything that could be regarded as offensive, hence he’ll turn a gag about a Muslim woman in a veil into a routine about how he *almost* thought something racist. Most of his jokes are meta-humourous rather than funny. They’re about the form of humour.

Herring genuinely pushes the bounds of acceptability. Lee is just a fat Rob Newman without the melancholy surrealism.

I went to go see Herring and Lee about a fortnight ago in London. They were very funny. Just for full disclosure.

Tim Rand . . “But there’s something of a line crossed”

Translated into English means right wing political correctness.

85. the a&e charge nurse

[71] “but has anybody here strayed over those lines” – well they may well have done when the host of one of BBCs most popular shows is labeled “homophobic” without very good reason.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/dec/29/top-gear-bolivia-tv-ratings

Luis @ 13

You contend that the following is broadly equivalent to the comment Clarkson actually made

Q: You’re not very sound on ethnic minority rights
A: Yes I am! I want to right not to be mugged!

Surely that would only be true if the following two statements were broadly equivalent

All gay men engage in gay sex
All members of ethnic minorities are violent criminals

They aren’t; the first is a generalisation, the second a serious slur. If Clarkson had actually said what you claim is equivalent to what he did say, he would rightly have been pilloried. I’m not saying that he wouldn’t have had a few defenders but surely precious few

Tim Rand . . “But there’s something of a line crossed”

Translated into English means right wing political correctness.

Not really – I’m not calling for it to be banned, or that people who find it funny are terrible people, it’s just that I don’t like it.

80 – amusingly you have focused on Hammond’s death/running over cyclists and I have focused on one-eyed Scotish idiot/wishing that Clarkson’s children go blind.

No, Mr Logic, you said that he is a “prick” because his jokes are “in pretty poor taste”. Are you splitting hairs for fun now?

I said he was a prick for saying that he wished Clarkson’s kids etc etc. That is a prickish thing to say. It doesn’t mean I think he’s awful, or terrible or anything else. Anyway, I suspect this conversation has reached a sort of natural end – I’ll leave you last word.

Big Jobs!

89. Luis Enrique

GeorgeV

Don’t be dim. Gay people do not “engage in gay sex” with people who don’t want them to (i.e. they won’t bum Clarkson) unless they are rapists. So the comparison you are looking for is:

All gay men are rapists
All members of ethnic minorities are violent criminals

Luis Enrique is winning here…

Luis

OK, I’m wrong. My pairing of statements doesn’t quite hit the mark. You can indeed read the imputation that all gay men are rapists into JC’s remark. However, you don’t have to. Imagine I were to say something neutral like:

“I am very happy for people to go pot-holing so long as they don’t drag me with them.” Although this sentence does contain the implication that potholers would wish to drag me with them, nobody who heard me say it would think that I considered it a real possibility that potholers are just itching to drag me down a hole.

On the other hand, “I am very happy for black people to come to this country as long as they don’t mug me” is different. It contains a completely new accusation – that black people are muggers.

JCs comment fits between these two poles. Impolite but not offensive

I’ll leave you last word.

Thanks.

The following issue seems to me to be rather more important and I believe it reflects badly on the quality and integrity of BBC news:

I have just emailed the following complaint to the BBC concerning

The ridiculous prominence in successive news bulletins given to the spy-swap in Vienna while news of the prospective upheaval in NHS commissioning and healthcare management was crammed in as the final and a minor item in the main bulletin of the BBC Radio 4 News At One.

I suspect the welfare of far more of Britain’s population will be affected by upheaval in the NHS than by the spy-swap in Vienna.

No homphobia here, as far as I can see. I’ve heard this sentiment expressed many a time, and no malice is usually intended.

95. Chaise Guevara

“The following issue seems to me to be rather more important and I believe it reflects badly on the quality and integrity of BBC news…”

Agreed. You’d think a state-sponsored news show wouldn’t have to pander to sensationalism by prioritising whichever story sounded most like it might be made into a Hollywood blockbuster.


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  56. Bhuvan Rahevar

    BBC cuts out Jeremy Clarkson's homophobia | Liberal Conspiracy: The funniest story about gormless Jeremy was when … http://bit.ly/bwDaGv

  57. Jayparth Rahevar

    BBC cuts out Jeremy Clarkson's homophobia | Liberal Conspiracy: The funniest story about gormless Jeremy was when … http://bit.ly/bwDaGv

  58. Jidhu Rahevar

    BBC cuts out Jeremy Clarkson's homophobia | Liberal Conspiracy: The funniest story about gormless Jeremy was when … http://bit.ly/bwDaGv

  59. David Brake

    RT @CharlieBeckett: Why does the BBC employ a homophobe when they wd sack a racist? http://bit.ly/bLVO9o

  60. Noxi

    BBC cuts out Jeremy Clarkson’s homophobia | Liberal Conspiracy http://ow.ly/286Fd

  61. earwicga

    RT @libcon BBC cuts out Jeremy Clarkson’s homophobia http://bit.ly/cVc7b2

  62. Anne Marte

    RT @earwicga: RT @libcon BBC cuts out Jeremy Clarkson’s homophobia http://bit.ly/cVc7b2

  63. Tesla Vs BBC: Top Gear Planned Dead Electric Car Shot Before Test « CBS Philly

    [...] or not the multinational, multimillion-dollar Top Gear franchise has repeatedly been accused of homophobic, nationalistic, xenophobic stereotyping. It has dodged many of those accusations in the past by [...]

  64. Tesla Vs BBC: Top Gear Planned Dead Electric Car Shot Before Test « CBS Baltimore

    [...] or not the multinational, multimillion-dollar Top Gear franchise has repeatedly been accused of homophobic, nationalistic, xenophobic stereotyping. It has dodged many of those accusations in the past by [...]

  65. Tesla Vs BBC: Top Gear Planned Dead Electric Car Shot Before Test « CBS Los Angeles

    [...] or not the multinational, multimillion-dollar Top Gear franchise has repeatedly been accused of homophobic, nationalistic, xenophobic stereotyping. It has dodged many of those accusations in the past by [...]

  66. Tesla Vs BBC: Top Gear Planned Dead Electric Car Shot Before Test « CBS Minnesota

    [...] or not the multinational, multimillion-dollar Top Gear franchise has repeatedly been accused of homophobic, nationalistic, xenophobic stereotyping. It has dodged many of those accusations in the past by [...]

  67. Tesla Vs BBC: Top Gear Planned Dead Electric Car Shot Before Test « CBS New York

    [...] or not the multinational, multimillion-dollar Top Gear franchise has repeatedly been accused of homophobic, nationalistic, xenophobic stereotyping. It has dodged many of those accusations in the past by [...]





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