BBC will cancel the rest of the 'Top Gear' season because of Jeremy Clarkson's suspension

Top Gear Epic Road TripYoutube/Top GearClarkson, right, with ‘Top Gear’ cohost Richard Hammond.

Controversial “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson, 54, has been suspended by the BBC after a “fracas with a producer,” the network said.

According to BBC News special correspondent Lucy Manning, Clarkson allegedly hit one of the show’s producers last week, but the incident was not reported to the BBC until Monday.

As a result of the suspension, the BBC has pulled Clarkson’s highly popular car show “Top Gear” from its television lineup. According to Manning, the remaining three episodes of the show’s 22nd season will be canceled. 

The Daily Mirror cites a source as saying the brouhaha was “all over a catering issue”.

“They came to the end of filming after a long day and Jeremy discovered that no food had been laid on. He just saw red and hit the assistant producer, who he blamed for not having organised the food. He snapped.”

The host reportedly told friends he didn’t punch the producer, but admitted there had been “handbags and pushing.”

“I’m having a nice cold pint and waiting for this to blow over,” he was quoted as saying in The Sun daily. He didn’t mention the fracas directly on Twitter last night, but shared a light conversation with his co-hosts:

A petition calling for his reinstatement has collected more than half a million signatures.

Clarkson, who is also a highly paid newspaper columnist, has been reprimanded on several occasions by the BBC for his controversial statements.

This latest incident is not the first dustup in Clarkson’s illustrious career.

In 2003, the “Top Gear” host received widespread attention for throwing a glass of water at and threatening Piers Morgan, then the Daily Mirror editor, with physical harm on board the last flight of the Concorde after the newspaper published photos in which Clarkson was embracing a woman who was not his wife.

A year later, at the British Press Awards, Clarkson and archnemesis Morgan confronted each other once again. This time punches were thrown, and Clarkson swung at and hit Morgan in the temple.

Both Clarkson and Morgan would later confirm that the “Top Gear” host broke his finger in the fracas.

In 2014, Clarkson found himself and his show mired in controversy after outtakes from an episode of “Top Gear” showed his using racially insensitive language. Clarkson was reprimanded last year by British government media regulators Ofcom for using another racially insensitive term to describe a person of South Asian origin in an episode of the show.

According to BBC News, Clarkson had been given a “final warning” after his controversial comments in 2014. The network had reportedly threatened to fire the host if there were any further incidents.

“Top Gear,” in its present format, has been on the air since 2002 with the trio of Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May at the helm. 

Over the past decade, “Top Gear” has become a global media phenomenon, with 350 million viewers worldwide, and it has spawned local spinoffs in Australia, China, South Korea, Russia, and the US. In total, the “Top Gear” brand is valued at an estimated $US1.5 billion.

In addition to the studio broadcast, “Top Gear” also boasts a popular live stadium show, 3 million YouTube subscribers, and a magazine with 1.7 million global readers. 

Here is the BBC’s complete statement:

Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation. No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.

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