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back to article BBC apologises for Top Gear outrage

The BBC has apologised for its trio of laddish Top Gear presenters who managed to offend the whole of Mexico with some hilarious racial stereotyping. As we previously reported, during a studio discussion of the comparative merits of sports cars from Germany, Italy and Mexico, jet car pilot par excellence Richard Hammond …

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Is this a title?

Am I the only person who read their apology as, "Sorry we offended you, but you really need to get a sense of humour"?

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Big Brother

I am sad to report...

...the death of humour as we know it. Don't get caught laughing or you risk being summarily judged for being racist, sexist, bigoted, lewd, discriminatory and simply human. You have been warned.

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FAIL

It's just a joke

Top Gear is an entertainment show with car bits thrown in. It can hurt when your own nationality is made fun by the presenters but can be hilarious when they make joke about others. Hope they don't ban top gear because the oafs in it are fun to watch.

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Megaphone

But they do make fun of ourselves

But they do make fun of ourselves, everyone overage are reckless drivers who smash through rail crossings, young people are people who have small crap overpowered cars who rip up carparks whos parents have green houses outside the front door

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Anonymous Coward

Good grief!

"It can hurt when your own nationality is made fun by the presenters but can be hilarious when they make joke about others"

This sentence could be used as the definition of "narrow minded intolerance" in any dictionary.

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Anonymous Coward

Mexicans on ITV

Something was on ITV last night that had a lineup of Mexicans in stereotypical dress (a blanket with a hole in the middle, worn as a coat along with a big hat and a guitar, I think Richard Hammond would say) and the panel had to guess which one was the real Mexican. They made fun of the Mexican people too, with comments like "Ooh, I feel like I'm working in US border control".

Will anyone be mentioning this? Has His Excellency already drafted a letter of complaint for ITV?

Anyway, I'm expecting some kind of insincere on-air apology by Hammond on Top Gear followed by a huge back-handed compliment about Mexicans by May, ending in Clarkson assuring His Excellency that they meant no insult to the good people of Mexico, who they're sure lead bountiful lives full of blameless bourgeois domesticity in common with the rest of us. Apart from their sports cars, which are rubbish!

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Megaphone

I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

I wouldn't hold your breath.....

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Strange

I'm reading about that apology and it seems more insulting than the original jokes. That surely couldn't be the intended, could it?

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Is it even broadcast in Mexico?

I was there in December last year and for a country that loves, and manufactures, cars I was surprised to hear that Top Gear is not shown there. So I am not sure how much offence can really be taken seeing how few Mexicans speak English and that the program is not broadcast there anyway. I think the BBC is missing a massive market although seeing who owns the Mexican media I am not surprised they want to steer clear.

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Compare and Contrast

The on screen antics of Clarkson, May and Hammond with the off screen antics of Keys and Gray and the resulting punishments of both parties...

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Hilarious?

It was funny for about 5-10 seconds; The typical time these pseudo-racist rants of Clarkson's go on for. When Hammond and May both jumped in too with their own slurs, it just became uncomfortable. I expect, and enjoy, that kind of humour from Frankie Boyle, as that's his shtick; Offending people.

That 1 minute segment shouldn't have been aired. Not because it was in bad taste or offensive, but because it was rubbish.

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Exactly

I was going to say the same thing.

It was neither offensive enough to be funny, like Frankie Boyle is, but was too long winded to be an off the cuff one liner.

They managed to find the 1 unfunny way of making their point which I guess takes a special sort of talent.

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Agreed

Clarkson makes it work because he has carefully constructed his buffoon character and plays it to the hilt with fair helping of genuine wit. Hammond is a pathetic puppydog of a man, desperate to please at any cost and May? Well he's just too naiive to do this kind of unscripted TV, much as I like him.

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WTF?

Double standard much?

" I expect, and enjoy, that kind of humour from Frankie Boyle, as that's his shtick; Offending people"

Uh, what? "It's OK for Frankie Boyle to go on extended race-centrered comedy rants, but not Jeremy Clarkson, he only gets 10 seconds" Who made up that rule?

"Not because it was in bad taste or offensive, but because it was rubbish."

Sez you. Top Gear's ratings vs. most other Beeb programs would seem to disagree. About the only way to avoid watching things you don't like or you don't want to hear is give up TV, at least you'll save your license fee.. oh and radio, and, well, talking to people I guess.

.

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Unscripted?

'unscripted TV", and you call May naive

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It's entertainment, get over it

Well, It made me laugh. If you don't like it, don't watch it.

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And what did the aussies think

Of their lot turning up in a group 4 van? Or the merkins and their usual lambasting?

Mexico Fail.

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Lame

"Our own comedians make jokes about the British being terrible cooks and terrible romantics, and we in turn make jokes about the Italians being disorganised and over dramatic, the French being arrogant and the Germans being over-organised.... [ ] stereotype-based comedy was allowed within BBC guidelines in programmes where the audience knew they could expect it, as was the case with Top Gear.... [ ] ... Whilst it may appear offensive to those who have not watched the programme or who are unfamiliar with its humour"

Utterly lame. Assuming they weren't watching for the first time, they did know what to expect. They also quite likely chortled through the rest of their stereotyped humour, until it was them.

Makes me almost as annoyed as the woman who loved Frankie Boyle until his humour touched on something affecting her family. Hilarious when it's someone else, not so much when it's you.

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Joke

Does this mean...

that the ambulance chasers, and their 'outraged' and 'insulted' clients will crawl back under their PC stone?

/Joke

PS. This is intended as humour. Sue me and I'll throw my overdraft at you.

PPS. See the JOKE icon.

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JDX
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Sheesh

Real men don't apologise, ever. Sorry but that's just the way it is.

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Or as the Duke put it:

Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles: Never apologise, son. It's a sign of weakness.

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

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Anonymous Coward

Quote from?

I guess that could be a quote from Sid the Sexist. You know, the guy who tries to always look big, but is a spineless insensitive narrow minded tw*t that "never done it"?

My wife says "real men jump off bridges", so off you go. I'm not a real man... or I maybe it's because I don't stand by stupid quotes.

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Ha ha

"jet car pilot par excellence Richard Hammond"

Love it

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Wow

Quite a balanced response from the BBC there... i'm glad they're not hiding behind political correctness gone crazy!

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Go

The Next "Star in a reasonably Priced Car"?

I'm sure the ambassador would oblige.

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Star in a car

Perhaps they can offer to have the Ambassador as a star in a reasonably price car, and in spirit of the show he can grow a moustache for the occasion.

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Anonymous Coward

A title is required

Personally I hope they don't have the Ambassador on because he sounds like a twat.

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FAIL

With apologies to Kahlil Gibran

Pity the nation that cannot laugh at itself, or take a joke made at its expense.

Pity the nation that raises not its voice save when its self image is taking a bit of a kicking or it wants a handout from the World Bank.

Pity the nation whose major contribution to fashion is the sombrero or the handlebar moustache, or to recent history the loss of Texas, and some rather attractive bits of Southern California

Pity the nation whose Ambassadors have nothing better to do than sit around watching daytime repeats and doing "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" style letters to the BBC...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: With apologies to Kahlil Gibran

If you hadn't mentioned the bit about the loss of specific territories to the US or had been a bit more vague, one might have thought you were referring to the UK.

Interesting cultural reference, though.

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Joke

Don't dismiss too lightly

"Pity the nation whose major contribution to fashion is the sombrero or the handlebar moustache"

Oh come on... a major influence on porn films is nothing to be sneezed at :-)

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Unhappy

Quid Pro Quo

Does this mean I have to stop stereotyping BT Click journalists as a bunch of clueless charlatans who claim to hire Russian crooks, then abuse and mock the victims of their crimes, to make shock TV stories that in fact are largely untrue? (Thinking of the BT Click Botnet debacle).

Because, while I'm certain Mexicans are no worse than any other group of people, I'm not sure my view of the integrity and honesty of BBC journalists could sink much lower.

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FAIL

Having seen the episode in question last night...

...I am so glad the Aussies appear to have a sense of humour and have (as yet) to sue the BBC. There was much more "national stereotyping" of them in that episode!

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Haha, most Aussies

revel in our national sterotype (especially when they're overseas).

Ironically if you don't revel in it, you constantly get asked if you're British (my family has been here for generations and I constantly get asked exactly that).

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Poinf of view of a foreigner in England

I have spent time in many countries and my opinion is that Englishmen indulge a bit too much on this stereotypical jokes. I think you need a few more appointments with your doctors to work on that "complex of superiority" problem.

It's not a matter of being offensive.... but that type of humour gives away a bit of the English way of thinking.

Finally, the BBC apology would be acceptable in most cases but not for Jeremy Clarkson who has been involved in this type of incidents too many times. He is simply an idiot that should not be paid with the TV license money.

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WTF?

So...

Surely your first para is a whole set of personal prejudices and stereotypes on its own - or is it OK because you're being polite? Sounds like a bit of the old "complex of superiority" if you ask me.

So what then? Its OK to think your better than everyone else, provided you wrap it up in aloof politeness and don't give away your "way of thinking"? Or are you suggesting that such lowbrow behaviour is unique to the oafish natives of these islands.

I too have been a foreigner in quite a few other countries and have generally found that local people, once they get to know you, very much enjoy a bit of friendly and expressive banter that relies just as heavily on narrow stereotypes as ours does . However they do seem to be less burdened with rather earnest apparatchiks whose sole driver in life is to protect the world + dog from any possibility of encountering even the mildest offence from cradle to grave.

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Anonymous Coward

@Andy S

As an Englishman having lived in many countries, well quite a few anyway, and currently living abroad I can tell you that everybody indulges in stereotyping. Nobody believes I don't like football and they can't understand why I don't think their food is anything special. Maybe you should have mingled more with the locals.

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Sorry you feel that way

" I think you need a few more appointments with your doctors to work on that "complex of superiority" problem."

*shrug* an overdeveloped superiority complex is a natural cultural trait from a nation that used to own 1/2 the world in much the same way that cats haven't got over being worshiped in ancient Egypt. See what I did there? Most of us laugh at our own stereotypical traits just as much as we laugh at others.

There's a difference between exaggerated racial stereotyping for the purpose of humour and people who genuinely believe it. I realise it can be a little uncomfortable in a foreign country and you can get the impression everyone believes the stereotype - I've been to a few places where Britons are viewed as all football hooligans, others where they are seen as snobbish and posh, others where they are seen as clueless fools. Is it good? Not especially, but I'll take the harsh words over the sanitising of everyone's thoughts any day. Do you really want to live in a world where you have the urge to consult a lawyer before saying anythign for fear of offending someone?

As for Clarkson, the man's a buffoon and quite frequently says things that make me want to scream or cringe or possibly even hit him if he happened to be close enough at the time, but I'll fight tooth and nail for his right to say it because we're supposed to live in a free country. One bastion of gratuitous political incorrectness in a flat and dull sea of conformity? Personally I think there's room for a couple more and it's *exactly* what the BBC should spend money on IMO - part of the point of a publiclly funded oragnisation is to make less popular things that wouldn't otherwise get funding.

Of course, in this case the ratings would suggest that his buffoonery is actually fairly popular. You could see that as an indicator that peope agree with him, but I don't know anyone who takes him terribly seriously so I prefer to see it as a sense of humour in the population. I get the impression he doesn't always agree with himself and is playing up the image deliberately - self deprecation in that back-handed way also being a part of British humour.

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Point of view of another foreigner, this time in Scotland

I've also spent time in many countries and I think you're talking out of your fundamental orifice. Every nation I have ever been to engages in this type of humour and every nation without exception contains large numbers of people who believe that are superior to everyone else simply because of the accident of geography that was their birth.

I agree that Clarkson gets paid too much of the license fee, though...

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WTF?

I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

OOooHhhhh!!!!!! I LOVE a good stereotype I do.. have you got any more?

I'd suggest that you re-read your opening statement and think again about stereotyping.

I'd suggest you need to spend a little LESS time with your doctor and work on getting some life experience.

Pillock! and not because of your race/colour/sex/creed but because it describes you perfectly

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Anonymous Coward

what I was expecting...

A lot of responses like yours.... but funnily enough I got upvoted by 8 people.

And about my stereotype in the opening statement: of course I know it's a stereotype and I have used it on purpose....

but somehow answering the stereotypes with another stereotype makes me a pillock.... oh well...

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@ Andy S

No sense of humour. Must be a German. There we go again with our national stereotypes !

I like Top Gear. Long may it continue. I am sick of the PC mob ruining humour. Top Gear isn't racist. If it was targetted at only one religion or faith, then perhaps that accusation is fair. But Top Gear target everything in as non PC a manner as possible. ANYTHING is fair game. How is that racist ?

Now a polite message to the PC mob to 'get a bloody life you sad limp wristed people'. I toned that down because you're all too feeble to accept anything stronger.

Humour is part of how we get along. Learn to dish it out. Learn to take it back. Through it learn about each other, instead of hatred and misunderstanding. How is that bad ?

One question. What does Speedy Gonzales think ?

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Paris Hilton

Idiot

For anyone who did not know, Top Gear is the BBC's biggest Export. They make so much money selling it abroad and to Dave that they don't need to pay Clarkeson et al from the license fee - they are paid from royalties.

get a life!!

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Linux

Harmless vs damaging stereotypes

Oh come off it. Those stereotypes are hardly offensive. Englishman doesn't look football oh noes!!!

How about this - a white man in a far eastern country is labelled a paedophile. Not so harmless now, eh.

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FAIL

Not funny enough

Some people reject a joke because <whatever subject> isn't funny. But it isn't the subject that's crucial; you can have a joke about anything provided it's funny enough. And that's where Top Gear failed. It just wasn't funny enough. It's stretching to call it a joke at all - more a list of insults. Clarkson et al aren't comedians - they're just not good enough to judge the line between humour and unmitigated offensiveness.

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WTF?

Pre-emptive Apologies for everything

Perhaps we should just display a pre-emptive apology for anything on TV on the off chance it might offend just one person. Much like South park does at the start.

People need to toughen up, I feel offended by some of Frankie Boyles jokes but I just accept that's the way he is. I also think some of his jokes are brilliant, again that's just the way he is.

How do we put an end to this incessant litigiousness that is spreading throughout the world? It's paralysing creativity and basic freedoms.

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Black Helicopters

Easy...

@pompurin: "How do we put an end to this incessant litigiousness that is spreading throughout the world? It's paralysing creativity and basic freedoms."

Easy ... snipers outside every lawyer's office and courtroom....

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Yup

Except you'd never get the paperwork past health and safety

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Anonymous Coward

And how do I complain to the BBC about the apology

ie that I don't think they should have bothered with one.

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