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Clarkson in trouble over ‘Elephant Man’ gaffe
A BBC Trust Editorial Standards Committee report has found Jeremy Clarkson “strayed into an offensive stereotypical assumption” with scripted comments comparing a Toyota Prius camper van to the Elephant Man.
The BBC presenter made the remarks in an episode of Top Gear, likening the shape of the car to someone with “a growth on their face” before calling the vehicle the “elephant car.”
A member of the public subsequently complained about the “offensive” comments prompting an investigation by the ESC.
The findings of the report highlighted that the show’s viewers enjoyed Clarkson’s “sometimes controversial and forthright views”, but concluded his comments this time “played on a stereotypically negative reaction to facial disfigurement.”
The committee accepted Clarkson exaggerated the situation for comic effect, however, it also outlined that some viewers could have found the exchange between Clarkson and his colleagues purposeless and offensive.
It was concluded that the programme was in breach of guidelines on harm and offence about facial disfigurement and the scripted sequence was not editorially justified, nor did it meet generally accepted standards in the context of their portrayal of a disability.
Clarkson is known for his outspoken and outrageous remarks outside the confines of a Top Gear script.
Having previously upset lorry drivers and the people of Mexico and India following remarks about the two countries, the presenter last year said striking public sector workers should be shot in front of their families on the BBC’s One Show.
He was later cleared by media watchdog Ofcom of any wrongdoing.
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