Belfast Telegraph

Top Gear cleared over Mexico jibes

A Top Gear episode which caused controversy with jokes about Mexicans has been cleared by the broadcasting watchdog.

Remarks broadcast by the BBC presenters included branding Mexicans "lazy", "feckless" and "flatulent".

The corporation later apologised to the Mexican ambassador over the comments made by James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson.

Ofcom received 157 complaints about the comments on the BBC2 show, which viewers complained were derogatory, cruel, xenophobic, discriminatory and racist.

The watchdog said it "recognised that the comments made about Mexican people were based on negative national stereotypes and had the potential to be very offensive".

But it said that Top Gear was well known for its "irreverent style and sometimes outspoken humour".

It added that viewers were likely to be aware that the show "frequently uses national stereotypes" and that "few, if any, nationalities had not at some point been the subject of the presenters' mockery".

"The majority of the audience would be familiar with the presenters' approach to mocking, playground-style humour, and would have considered that applying that approach to national stereotypes was in keeping with the programme's usual content, and the presenters' typical style," it said.

The BBC apologised after the Mexican ambassador, His Excellency Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza, wrote to the corporation to complain about the "outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults".

Hundreds of Mexicans contacted the BBC to protest about the remarks which caused national outrage. The corporation said at the time the comments may have been "rude" and "mischievous", but there was no "vindictiveness" behind them.


From Belfast Telegraph