Top Gear apologises for causing offence

Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond front Burma Special Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond were tasked with building a bridge across the River Kwai in last month's Burma special

Top Gear has apologised for an 'offensive' remark made in the programme's Burma special last month.

Presenter Jeremy Clarkson used the word 'slope' in double reference to the inadequacies of a self-made bridge and to an Asian man who was crossing it at the time.

Some people regard 'slope' as a derogatory term for those of Asian descent.

'When we used the word 'slope' in the recent Top Gear Burma Special it was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it,' said Andy Wilman, Top Gear executive producer.

'We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word 'slope' is considered by some to be offensive and although it might not be widely recognised in the UK, we appreciate that it can be considered offensive to some here and overseas, for example in Australia and the USA,' he added.

'If we had known that at the time we would not have broadcast the word in this context and regret any offence caused.'

His statement follows a formal complaint about the BBC Two show, broadcast on March 16, from actor Somi Guha.

Law firm Equal Justice, acting on Guha's behalf, said the use of the term contravened the Equality Act 2010 and was an example of 'casual racism'.

'I find it offensive that Jeremy Clarkson refers to people of different races in pejorative terms,' continued the letter, which called for the programme's censure so that 'another race or nation is not targeted'.

Equal Justice also threatened to escalate the complaint via Ofcom if an apology was not issued.

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