Food fight club: Petition to reinstate Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson hits 300,000 signatures
The controversial presenter of long-running motoring show Top Gear allegedly punched a producer after he “saw red” in what has been described as a “fracas” during filming for the show in Newcastle.
The producer involved was named by the Daily Mirror as Oisin Tymon. The newspaper reported that Clarkson “snapped” when he found out his dinner was not ready.
Clarkson’s behavior was reported to the BBC on Monday and he was suspended Tuesday morning. The remaining three episodes of the current series of Top Gear have been removed from TV listings and the BBC has not confirmed whether it will return.
One source told tabloid newspaper The Sun: “Jeremy had a massive bust-up with one of the male show producers and he ended up smacking him in the face. Everyone was absolutely stunned.
“It was all over a catering issue. Jeremy just saw red and hit the assistant producer, who he blamed for not having organized the food.”
Following the incident, Clarkson posted that he was “having a cold beer and waiting for it all to blow over.”
The BBC is believed to have banned staff from talking about the “fracas” as it has the potential to result in a grievance procedure.
Save Clarkson? Save empty cardboard boxes and off-cuts of string. They're far more useful.
— James May (@MrJamesMay) March 11, 2015
The corporation currently owns the rights to the format of the show, which they bought off Clarkson and his producer Andy Wilmot in 2012, but it is unclear whether co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May could continue if Clarkson was sacked.
His suspension has been greeted with joy and outrage, with his critics calling it a victory for the broadcaster, while his fans rally in protest.
The “Top Gear Forever” Facebook page has over 7,000 likes and is gathering support for the disgraced presenter. The petition to reinstate him, reportedly set up by political blog Guido Fawkes, has garnered over 300,000 signatures.
One post on the Facebook group reads: “I see what Jeremy has done.... He is quitting Top Gear, to become Prime Minister........ So he has the legislative power to punch Piers Morgan whenever he, or anybody else, likes..... I'd vote for him!!”
If the BBC does sack @JeremyClarkson, which it won't - it'll be less than 15mins till a Top Gear-esque show is commissioned on ITV or Sky1
— Jack Hart (@MrJacHart) March 11, 2015
The alleged incident is the latest in a series of gaffes for the presenter, who has caused controversy with allegedly “racist”comments and inappropriate behavior.
Last summer the Top Gear presenters were chased out of Argentina following protests about the number plate of Clarkson’s vehicle, which read H982 FKL in an apparent reference to Britain’s victory over Argentina in the 1982 Falklands War.
Just seen large queues of people wearing purple and yellow outside @bbc Broadcasting House - Must be auditions for new Top Gear presenter.
— Iain Clucas (@clooky) March 11, 2015
Clarkson denied the claims and said the registration plate was an innocent coincidence.
Earlier in the year he was accused of using “casual racism” during filming of the Top Gear Burma Special, where he reportedly called a local man a “slope.”
He had also come under fire for using the N-word by the Daily Mirror. The paper claimed Clarkson could be heard during an episode of the show saying “Eeny, meeny, miny moe...,” before mumbling “Catch a n****r by his toe.”
Clarkson said he was “horrified” by the allegations.
Oh God, BBC please take him back... He's started cooking...
— Em Clarkson (@EmClarkson1) March 10, 2015
His daughter has tweeted in an ironic protest at his sacking, saying the BBC should urgently take him back because “he has started cooking.”