Top Gear crosses the line with racist Mexican comments

2 Feb

Clarkson immitates the Mexican ambassador who he expects will be sleeping and miss the comments

Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, the sometimes bumbling middle-aged presenters that make up the Top Gear trio, are hardly known for the most clean of humour. But their comments characterising Mexicans as  ‘lazy’ on Top Gear last Sunday, 30th January, have proved a step too far. While discussing a Mexican sports car, the Mastretta, Hammond took the opportunity to (rather ineloquently) criticise the Mexican people as a whole: “Mexican cars are just going to be a lazy, feckless, flatulent oaf with a moustache leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat”. May joined in by describing Mexican food as ‘refried sick’ and Clarkson, positively gleeful at his colleagues’ outbursts, said he was confident the BBC would not receive any complaints because the Mexican ambassador would be asleep.

What started all the trouble: the Mastretta

But Clarkson was wrong. Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico’s ambassador in London wrote to the BBC claiming the comments, which were broadcast to over 6 million people, were ‘offensive, xenophobic and humiliating’. In his letter Mora wrote: “It is utterly incomprehensible and unacceptable that the premiere broadcaster should allow three of its presenters to display their bigotry and ignorance by mocking the people and culture of our country with such vehemence.” The BBC has said they will respond directly to Mora.

This is not the first time the driving programme has caused offence; back in 2008 Clarkson made jokes about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes which gained hundreds of complaints. He has also recently come to the aid of Sky Sports presenter Andy Gray after his sexist comments claiming assistant referee Sian Massey did not understand the offside rule earned him the sack. It seems that Clarkson is on a one-man crusade to prevent political correctness from stripping our country of a sense of humour, and therefore racist and sexist comments must be dismissed as harmless ‘banter’. I’m pretty sure the Mexican community in the UK, which stands at about 5,700 according to embassy figures, didn’t find it so funny. Fans of the show, of which I am one, would not want to see an end to the satirical jokes and slap-stick humour which may be partly responsible for it winning ‘most popular factual show’ at the National TV Awards last week. But let’s hope this last raft of comments, which were wholly unnecessary during such a brief feature on the hour show, make the Top Gear presenters think twice about confusing prejudice with comedy.

Image 1: akirathedon

Image 2: seriouswheels

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4 Responses to “Top Gear crosses the line with racist Mexican comments”

  1. Pamela Garcia Pulido February 3, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    As a massive Top Gear fan I was very disappointed by the comments the show’s trio of presenters made about Mexico. The comments were both distasteful and uncalled for, and only served to highlight the presenters’ profound ignorance and lack of creativity. Mexico is an astonishingly beautiful country full of hardworking people who want to go far. As far as May’s comments on Mexican gastronomy are concerned, Thomasina Miers, former Masterchef champion and founder of the incredibly successful UK chain of Mexican restaurants: ‘Wahaca’, has shown that Mexican food is far more than just cheese and refried beans, accumulating rave reviews in the process. It goes without saying that is obvious that none of the presenters has ever met a Mexican…

  2. Bertie in London February 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    Yeah! But Max Clifford would tell Mexicans to keep up the barrage because who had a clue they even made cars before Top Gear engineered so much free publicity for them. Now we are all talk Mexican cars and not tortillas; watch the sales grow. Great free PR.

  3. katielinsell February 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Well sadly I don’t think the Mastretta has received all that much attention during the fallout after the trio’s comments. If anything it’s just led to a further debate along the lines of stereotypes and how they are unfair. I understand how all publicity is good publicity, but in this case I’m not so sure.

    • Bertie in London February 10, 2011 at 11:03 am #

      Think you could be right about the Mastretta which apart from that “unspeakable colour” (what had the thing eaten?) has some sharp lines and potential. Must go off and find where I can test drive one – guess it may be a long journey. Will let readers know how I get on and tell Clarkson and his chums too.

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