Jeremy Clarkson has hinted that Jo Brand’s political leanings were the reason why the comedian kept her job at the BBC following her controversial battery acid comment.
Brand, 62, caused outrage after she joked on Victoria Coren Mitchell’s Heresy talkshow on BBC Radio 4 that people should throw the substance instead of milkshakes at “unpleasant characters.”
Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other journalists to promote his latest series of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?, Clarkson – who left the BBC in 2015 after a physical altercation with a Top Gear producer – said: “Oh no, no, you can keep your job if you’re a leftie. Course you can.
“It was a ridiculous row.”
The remark saw 65 people complain to Ofcom and a police investigation launched (and dropped) as Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage accused Brand of inciting violence.
The BBC later edited out the comment, which Brand clarified was a joke during the recording, from any subsequent broadcast.
A spokesperson clarified in a statement: “We carefully considered the programme before broadcast. It was never intended to encourage or condone violence, and it does not do so, but we have noted the strong reaction to it.
“Comedy will always push boundaries and will continue to do so, but on this occasion we have decided to edit the programme. We regret any offence we have caused.”
Although several people on Twitter called for Brand to be sacked over the joke, Clarkson, 59, believes the BBC made the right call to keep employing Brand.
“Of course she shouldn’t have lost her job,” he said. “God, it was a joke.”
Clarkson and Brand haven’t always agreed on such matters – the pair previously fell out at a BBC dinner when Brand jokingly told BBC officials to take Clarkson off air to improve the corporation.
While Clarkson admits they have had their disagreements both in front and away from television cameras, he says he is now friends with the comedian.
“I like Jo, she’s great,” he said. “We’ve had rows, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like her.
“There’s lots of people that I disagree with that I like.”
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? launches on ITV on Saturday 24th August at 9.10pm, following up on Sunday at 8pm