Support 100 years of independent journalism.

2 May 2014updated 09 Jun 2021 9:18am

Jeremy Clarkson’s n-word mumble rumbled

Apologising wholeheartedly for his ill attempt at obscuring the n-word doesn’t erase Top Gear’s top gaffe-monger’s dodgy comments of the past.

By media mole

Driver of cars and general television pest Jeremy Clarkson has begged for forgiveness via YouTube for failing adequately to mumble the n-word in a nursery rhyme he was reciting for a Top Gear clip.

He was reciting the rhyme “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” when attempting to choose between two cars, and it took him two takes to not quite obscure the ensuing racist term, before he gave up and replaced it with “teacher”.  

Here’s his apology:

This mole particularly enjoyed the tantalising pause between “a racist expression that I was extremely keen” and “to avoid”. Because even if he’s contrite this time, there have been a number of apparently racist comments he’s made over the years that sadly were delivered wholly un-mumbled:

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

March 2014

Clarkson appeared to use the racist term “slope” about an Asian man when building a bridge in Thailand. The programme’s producer greatly regretted the “light-hearted wordplay” apparently.

“That is a proud moment,” Clarkson mused, while surveying the bridge. “But there’s a slope on it.”

December 2011

While not a racist gaffe, this one certainly explains where his hasty amendment of the nursery rhyme to “catch a teacher” comes from. An inherent repulsion towards key workers…

In an appearance on The One Show, regarding a public sector workers’ strike, he commented: “I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.”

Over 30,000 viewers complained.

Matt Baker looked pained, longing for his simpler Blue Peter days, when it was just him and wholesome border collie Meg against the world.

February 2011

In an episode of Top Gear, Clarkson and fellow motoring motor-mouths Richard Hammond and James May made offensive remarks about Mexican people, causing the BBC to apologise to the country’s ambassador.

After some lazy, feckless jokes by his colleagues about “lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight” Mexicans with food “like sick with cheese on it”, Clarkson added jubilantly that the show wouldn’t get any complaints because: “at the Mexican embassy, the ambassador is going to be sitting there with a remote control like this [he added some snoring noises]. They won’t complain, it’s fine.”

October 2009

In an interview with Top Gear magazine – a publication the existence of which proves that press freedom in this country has indeed been taken too far – he commented:

“The problem is that television executives have got it into their heads that if one presenter on a show is a blond-haired, blue-eyed heterosexual boy, the other must be a black Muslim lesbian.”

All is not lost for Clarkson, however, as people call for his resignation. Universally popular politician Michael Gove’s come out to defend him… It’s time to catch a Clarkson by the gob – and this time, not to let him go.