No further action to be taken over Jeremy Clarkson’s use of the N-word

The BBC Trust says that because the footage was not broadcast the Top Gear presenter will not face further disciplinary action


Jeremy Clarkson will face no further action for his apparent use of the N-word.


The BBC Trust ruled that because the footage had not been broadcast there was no breach of editorial standards, and therefore the issue will not be reviewed.

A group of complainants asked the Trust’s Complaints and Appeals Board to look again at the handling of the Clarkson affair, after material emerged that appeared to show the Top Gear presenter using a racially offensive nursery rhyme.

However, the committee judged that the matter did not qualify for the appeal stage, pointing out that “apologies had been made.”

“The panel agreed that the incident did not engage [a potential breach of] editorial standards as the material had not been broadcast,” the BBC Trust committee said. 

“Decisions regarding the employment of staff or freelancers including on air talent (including disciplinary action) is an operational matter which is the responsibility of the executive board. The panel concluded that there was no reasonable prospect of success for an appeal.”

The panel ruled that: “Efforts had been made to consider the issue at the highest level in the BBC and that apologies had been made.”

Director of Television Danny Cohen said in August that he had made it “very clear in public and in private that I was incredibly unhappy with his language.”

“It’s like football clubs – no-one’s bigger than the club and that’s why I was so clear in public and private that I was unhappy with it and wouldn’t accept it,” Cohen said. “No one show or person is bigger than the BBC and that’s the way I see it.”


The ruling comes after Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were attacked while filming part of the Top Gear Christmas special in Argentina. The convoy was targeted after locals discovered Clarkson was driving a Porsche with the numberplate H982 FKL – which they believed was a reference to the Falklands War of 1982.