Fans rally their support behind Jeremy Clarkson, the presenter of BBC’s “Top Gear,” a day after his suspension from the TV show. An online petition was immediately set up asking the network to reinstate Clarkson, but some say, he may not be returning to the show after all. Read on.
On Tuesday, March 10, the petition to bring Clarkson back on “Top Gear” was created by Paul Steins, a blogger who also goes by the name of Guido Fawkes. In his introduction, Steins demanded for “freedom to fracas” and implored social media netizens to use the hashtag #BringBackClarkson to get their cause across. As of press time, the petition has been signed by more than half a million followers and the number is still rising.
Clarkson, 54, was suspended from his show following a quarrel with his producer, Oisin Tymon, according to BBC. He was accused of punching the involved over a problem with catering, which apparently happened a week prior. BBC, however, only learned of it on Monday, March 9.
Clarkson has not released an official statement about the incident and fans note that the host remains particularly chipper on his Twitter account, hardly addressing anything about the controversy. He did change his Twitter profile indicating that “I am probably a presenter on the BBC2 motoring show, Top Gear.”
But Clarkson is apparently mulling over quitting “Top Gear” altogether, even if his suspension is lifted. By month’s end, his contract with the show will end, according to The Guardian. The report also said that the presenter could sign with rival broadcaster like Channel 4 or ITV.
James May, Clarkson’s co-host on “Top Gear,” meanwhile, downplayed what happened, saying that it is only a “dust-up” and not a serious matter. He spoke about it in a video on BBC. Even the Prime Minister David Cameron, who is a personal friend of Clarkson, is hoping this matter is sorted as soon as possible.
The news also confirms that succeeding episodes of “Top Gear,” which airs Sunday nights in Britain, will have to be pulled off the schedule, while a third episode, which serves as the season’s finale, will most likely not get aired as well.
The decision to suspend Clarkson, who has been hosting the series since 2002, is a difficult one for the network, as “Top Gear” is highly rated and watched in over 170 countries with 350 million viewers, according to CBS News. The show has an estimated value of over $1.5 billion.
BBC has created an interim panel to investigate the matter and decide on what to do as soon as possible.
This is not the first time the opinionated presenter got involved in a controversy, however. In May 2014, Clarkson was given a warning by BBC over racist statements he said on his show, according to Reuters.
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