There is a massive global split right now over whether Jeremy Clarkson should be fired by the BBC from “Top Gear” for allegedly assaulting one of its producers. Fans of the show don’t want it to end. But many Brits hate Clarkson and are not-so-secretly cheering for his exit from the TV.
Clarkson has his supporters in Britain — Conservatives in particular love his one-man war against political correctness, which has seen him use both the n-word and the term “slope” to describe Asian people, on camera. But globally there are two camps. This is what Americans think about Clarkson (he’s awesome and the show is both clever and hilarious, basically). Here is the UK take — rather more negative. Familiarity breeds contempt, it would seem.
There is a huge contingent of Brits who just want him gone. Weirdly, no one in the media is openly saying why they want him out.
It’s to do with class, wealth, privilege and lack of accountability.
It’s certainly not because of the “controversial” things Clarkson and his colleagues have said. Everyone has one of those embarrassing racist acquaintances who thinks Mexicans are “lazy, feckless and flatulent,” as Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond once said. No one takes them seriously.
Rather, it is because if anyone else — anyone who is not a millionaire whose annual compensation is £14 million, paid from a government-mandated TV licence fee tax — did the things Clarkson does, they would be fired instantly.
In the most recent incident that led to his suspension and the cancellation of the rest of the “Top Gear” season, Clarkson allegedly shoved or punched his producer because he was offered a supper of soup, cold meat, and cheese instead of a hot steak after he arrived two hours late, by helicopter, at a restaurant.
Try punching one of your office mates today, if he fails to bring you a hot lunch, and see how long you keep your job.
The owner of a restaurant in Newcastle, where the team dined while filming last month, said he had been told in strict terms that food must be ready as soon as the cast arrived. Bob Arora, owner of Sachins, said a woman from the production team “said that it was very important that the food was served on time and that the starters had to be on the table for 9.15pm when they would be coming in. She couldn’t emphasise enough how important that was.”
It is the same with all these incidents. If you’re a worker in the private sector, just try making a video of yourself for YouTube in which you refer to black people with the n-word. It’s not advisable — your boss likely will sack you for bringing your company into disrepute.
But Clarkson is paid by the government (or at least a government funded agency). And he is fantastically wealthy, not like you. And he is mates with the prime minister, also unlike you.
So different rules apply. He is not fired for embarrassing himself and his company. Not fired when he called Asians “slopes.” Not fired when he made anti-gay jokes about George Michael. Not fired when the BBC was forced to officially apologise to all of Mexico.
The reason so many Brits want him gone is because this is a story about a wealthy, rude man who uses taxpayer’s money to treat working people like crap, and he never seems to be held accountable.
One rule for him, another for the rest of us. And he’s literally laughing at the situation.
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