Jeremy Clarkson denies chanting racist nursery rhyme

01/05/14

Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has denied claims that he used racist language while filming an episode of the hit car show.

The Daily Mirror reported that the star used the n-word in a nursery rhyme, although the paper claims it was later edited out of the BBC broadcast.

Clarkson responded to the claim in a video on Twitter saying he loathed the word.

In it he said he was "horrified" that it sounded as though he'd used it.

The presenter added he was "begging forgiveness" that it appeared that way.

He said in two takes he mumbled where it was supposed to appear in the rhyme. In a third take he used the word "teacher" instead.

Earlier he'd tweeted: "I did not use the n word. Never use it. The Mirror has gone way too far this time."

Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond
Image caption Jeremy Clarkson with fellow Top Gear presenters James May (centre) and Richard Hammond

The newspaper said the footage was studied by audio forensic experts who told them the star could be heard chanting "Eeny, meeny, miny moe".

The experts claim that he then mumbled the rest of the racist rhyme while comparing two cars.

In a statement the BBC said: "Jeremy Clarkson has set out the background to this regrettable episode.

"We have made it absolutely clear to him, the standards the BBC expects on air and off. We have left him in no doubt about how seriously we view this."

His Top Gear co-host, James May, came to his defence on Twitter saying: "Jeremy Clarkson is not a racist."

I did not use the n word. Never use it. The Mirror has gone way too far this time
Jeremy Clarkson

"I wouldn't work with one. #ThatIsAll."

The story comes days after the show's producer apologised for broadcasting a "light-hearted" joke by Clarkson that led to the BBC show being accused of racism.

An episode of the show, filmed in Burma and Thailand and shown in March, featured a scene in which the presenters built a bridge over the River Kwai, and as an Asian man walked over it Clarkson said: "That is a proud moment, but there's a slope on it."

Somi Guha, an actress who complained to the BBC, said the use of the phrase was an example of "casual racism" and "gross misconduct".

Jeremy Clarkson

The BBC Two show's executive producer, Andy Wilman, said: "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.

"It has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word slope is considered by some to be offensive, for example in Australia and the USA.

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

Clarkson is well known for courting controversy. In recent years he has been cleared of breaching the broadcasting code by media watchdog Ofcom after comparing a Japanese car to people with growths on their faces.

He previously faced protests from mental health charities after calling people who throw themselves under trains "selfish".

He was forced to apologise for telling BBC One's The One Show that striking workers should be shot.

The motoring show has also faced complaints from Indian and Mexican politicians over remarks made about their countries while filming on location.

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