​Top Gear investigated by BBC after racist gaffes


Top Gear probe

A BBC TV chief ordered an internal review into Top Gear after continued claims of racism and offensive gaffes. Director of television for the BBC, Danny Cohen, initiated an investigation into the show's culture and practices to address controversy surrounding the program.

This follows Jeremy Clarkson being issued a "final warning" in May after he was claimed to have used the N-word in an outtake of the motoring show. Ofcom also ruled last week that the presenter "deliberately" used offensive racist language in Top Gear's Burma special.

In the Burma episode Clarkson said "there's a slope on it" when a local was crossing a bridge he and his co-presenters had erected. Ofcom deemed that "slope" had been used as a racist slur describing the local rather than being a comment on the quality of the bridge. Clarkson has also made offensive comments about Mexicans and public sector workers previously, with the latter resulting in 31,000 complaints.

Launching a review to address public concerns over the show's culture, bosses wanted to make sure Clarkson, May and Hammond are "aware of their responsibilities" as BBC employees in the public eye, writes the Guardian.

The investigation is believed to have quizzed workers on the motoring show about whether they consider the show racist and whether staff were too afraid to speak out if they were offended by the presenters' exploits. It is understood that figures including the three presenters and executive producer Andy Wilman were among those questioned.

This review has now been completed and the results delivered to Cohen and a select few others. The findings are remaining strictly confidential at this stage, with the BBC refusing to reveal the conclusions of the report which followed the investigation which is believed to have taken four to six weeks.

There have been claims that Cohen had wanted to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Clarkson prior to the report, though director general Tony Hall blocked this. The report is understood to have resulted as a compromise between the two bosses.