The BBC announced today that they will not renew their contract with Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson. Though unsurprising, this is still a big move. Top Gear is one of the most successful programs all over the globe, and Clarkson has been the co-host since it began in 2002. The quarrelsome media personality’s name is synonymous with the show.
BBC Director-General Tony Hall released a statement earlier today:
It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon. (Via BBC)
What happened, exactly? Early reports indicated Clarkson physically and verbally assaulted Tymon, a Top Gear producer, on March 4. The BBC suspended him pending an official investigation, but this didn’t stop him from ridiculing his bosses at a fundraiser last week.
- earlier on 4 March, studio recording of Top Gear had taken place in Surrey and the presenters
had travelled that same evening to the location shoot in North Yorkshire;
- the incident occurred on a patio area of the Simonstone Hall Hotel, where Oisin Tymon was
working on location for Top Gear;
- the physical attack lasted around 30 seconds and was halted by the intervention of a witness;
- it is the case that Oisin Tymon offered no retaliation;
the verbal abuse was directed at Oisin Tymon on more than one occasion – both during the
attack and subsequently inside the hotel – and contained the strongest expletives and threats to
sack him. The abuse was at such volume as to be heard in the dining room, and the shouting
was audible in a hotel bedroom;
- derogatory and abusive language, relating to Oisin Tymon and other members of the Top Gear
team, continued to be used by Jeremy Clarkson inside the hotel, in the presence of others, for a
sustained period of time;
- it is clear that Oisin Tymon was shocked and distressed by the incident, and believed that he
had lost his job;
- following the attack, I understand that Oisin Tymon drove to a nearby A&E department for
- over the subsequent days, Jeremy Clarkson made a number of attempts to apologise to Oisin
Tymon by way of text, email and in person; and
- it is the case that Jeremy Clarkson reported the incident to BBC management.
A 30-second beat down by Clarkson is definitely something that no one would want to be on the receiving end of, especially if outside intervention is required to stop it. Though what’s really telling isn’t the altercation itself, but the fact that Clarkson was the one who reported the incident in the first place.
While MacQuarrie’s investigation adds some detail to the story, both that and Hall’s statement say nothing about what initially spurred Clarkson to action. Only the word “unprovoked” is offered as a reason. So much for the fan petition to reinstate the Top Gear host.