Jeremy Clarkson has vigorously denied allegations that he used the word “n****r” in what is claimed to be un-broadcast footage from the BBC2 show Top Gear.
The 54-year old presenter is accused of mumbling the racist term by the Daily Mirror newspaper, who released a video of what they say is footage cut from series 19, episode three of the BBC motoring show.
The video shows Clarkson standing between two cars, a Toyota GT86 and a Subaru BRZ, attempting to decide which car to test drive. He then begins to recite the opening section of the nursery rhyme, “Eeeny, meeny, miny, moe…” before appearing to mumble “… catch a n****r by the toe.”
Clarkson immediately took to Twitter this morning to deny the claim, telling his 3.29m followers “I did not use the n word. Never use it. The Mirror has gone way too far this time.”
The BBC said it needs to “establish the facts before commenting”.
This latest row comes just a week after the BBC was forced to apologise for offence caused by Clarkson’s use of the word “slope” in a recent Top Gear Burma special.
Broadcast in March, the episode saw the three presenters building a makeshift bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand. As an Asian man was seen walking across it Clarkson remarks: “That is a proud moment – but there’s a slope on it.” Hammond replies: “You’re right, it’s definitely higher on that side.”
A complaint from law firm Equal Justice produced an internal inquiry and was followed by a public apology from executive producer Andy Wilman.
BBC Director of Television is understood to have been personally involved in Burma Special matter, and insisted that the offending scene be cut from all future broadcast of Top Gear both in the UK and across the world.
Despite a history of controversy, Top Gear is one of the BBC’s most successful franchises, not only pulling in millions of viewers on Sunday night to BBC2, but making millions of pounds for the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, through overseas sales, DVDs, live tours and other commercial activities.
The BBC, through its commercial arm BBC Worldwide, took full control of the company running the Top Gear franchise in 2012.
Up until then 50 per cent of that company, Bedder 6, was owned by Clarkson and his schoolboy pal Wilman, with Worldwide owning the other half. It is reported that the pair were jointly paid £14.4 million to surrender their stake in the company.