As one of the most successful automotive shows in the world, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the stars of “Top Gear”s are also quite prolific on their own. One of the best examples of that is Jeremy Clarkson, who hosted the show from 2002 to 2015, and was essential in taking the series to the top of its TV genre, with his vast knowledge and personality.
Although no one denies Jeremy’s talent as a host, he’s also known for involving himself in scandals, some of which keep being brought up even after several years of them taking place.
Nonetheless, could one of these issues cause his exit from “Top Gear” or was it something he decided himself? And what other projects has he been involved with? Stay here to know all about Jeremy Clarkson’s whereabouts, and the scandal which turned his career upside down!
- 1 Why Did He Leave The Show?
- 2 What Happened To The Show Afterwards?
- 3 Jeremy’s Current Projects
- 4 Criticism Towards “Top Gear
- 5 Jeremy’s Major Scandals
- 6 Show’s Cancellation
Why Did He Leave The Show?
Despite his career being about cars and speed, Jeremy hasn’t been able to escape controversies and scandals. Nonetheless, while most of the issues he was involved with had no severe impact on his career, in 2015 he was dismissed by “Top Gear”s network BBC, after punching producer Oisin Tymon.
Reportedly, Tymon had told Clarkson he couldn’t take one of his dinner requests, leading the host to insult and punch him. Clarkson’s behavior was strongly rejected by BBC and besides suspending him from the show, they also took “Top Gear” off their programming schedule, effectively leaving the then-airing season cut before the finale.
With the uncertainty about his future in the show, fans started an online petition for the BBC to reinstall Clarkson, gathering over a million signatures. Nonetheless, the petition fell on deaf ears and the network ultimately fired Clarkson, though not without him paying £100,000 to Tymon.
Later in 2020, Clarkson’s former “Top Gear” co-star James May, told the Daily Mail that at the time of his firing, Clarkson was strongly pressured by producers to keep ratings high, a situation which potentially led to his outburst, though a BBC News report points out that the incident was the last straw for the network’s executives, as Clarkson was previously involved in other scandals.
What Happened To The Show Afterwards?
Despite the criticism over Jeremy Clarkson’s firing, BBC chose to keep going with “Top Gear”, though the show wasn’t the same afterwards. As a sign of solidarity with Clarkson, hosts Richard Hammond, Andy Wilman and James May exited the show as well, leaving the network to hire new hosts and renew the show’s format.
From then on, several hosts were seen on “Top Gear”s stage, starting with British host Christopher Evans, who faced a severe drop in audience ratings, and was criticized for apparently not getting along with Matt LeBlanc, who joined the show later on as a co-host, but had ‘grown increasingly frustrated with his co-star’s rudeness and frosty attitude towards the team’, as reported by The Sun.
Other personalities included in this new era of “Top Gear” were racer Sabine Schmitz, journalists Rory Reid and Chris Harris, and TV personality Eddie Jordan.
The backlash faced by Evans resulted in his resignation in 2016 after only one season. He was followed by Jordan in 2018, and by LeBlanc and Reid in 2019. Later in 2020, Schmitz left the show as well, leaving Harris to co-host the show with newcomers Andrew Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness, who joined in 2019.
Jeremy’s Current Projects
Following his firing from the BBC, Jeremy Clarkson’s next project was “The Grand Tour”, hosted with his former “Top Gear” co-stars Richard Hammond, Andy Wilman and James May. The project was born right after the three hosts resigned from “Top Gear” and followed a format which switched between scenes of the stars exploring automotive themes, to them interacting in a studio with a live audience. “The Grand Tour” also took its hosts around the world, as they challenged each other in a variety of international locations, segments which have remained a constant in the show, despite it going through a format revamping from the fourth season.
Regarding how “The Grand Tour” came alive, Clarkson admitted he was headstrong in creating another car show following his “Top Gear” firing: ‘I have lost my baby, but I shall create another. I don’t know who the other parent will be or what the baby will be like’, he told The Guardian. Rumors at the time pointed out that premiering a show which directly competed with BBC was considered a breach of his non-compete contract with the network, leaving him no option but to produce the show with an America-based platform, which ended up being Amazon Prime Video.
Besides appearing as a guest in several international shows, and hosting “The Grand Tour”, Jeremy’s most memorable project in recent years is “Clarkson’s Farm”, which premiered in 2021.
Criticism Towards “Top Gear
Overall, Jeremy Clarkson’s controversial personality and opinions has often put him in big trouble, and caused a bit of an uproar. Long before being fired by the BBC in 2015, Jeremy Clarkson already had issues with the network and “Top Gear”s production.
Back in early 2006, when “Top Gear” had already changed from a young show to one of the most successful on its network, Jeremy didn’t hold back from criticizing BBC’s scheduling decisions, especially referring to their World Cup coverage as not leaving ‘enough space for the sort of television programme normal people might actually want to watch’, he wrote in his Top Gear Magazine column, in which he also described snooker-centered shows as ‘billiards for poor people’.
While Jeremy’s choice of words while referring to the network’s decisions raised eyebrows everywhere, his negative opinions about the show’s production didn’t improve as time passed. Right after he was fired by BBC, Jeremy revealed that he’d been through a recent cancer scare, but that the demanding TV schedule didn’t allow him to take care of his health: ‘I couldn’t do that. We were in the middle of a “Top Gear” series., and “Top Gear” always came first’, he told The Guardian.
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Jeremy’s Major Scandals
While Jeremy Clarkson’s career success is not to be ignored, his opinions on politics, religion, and social issues had caused huge controversies, often gaining him the disapproval of minorities, organizations, and the general public. Here are some of the most unforgettable scandals faced by Jeremy.
George Michael Controversy
As was very usual for “Top Gear”, Jeremy and his co-hosts referred to each other or described items and cars as ‘gay’ as a joke. While the show’s choice of humor might not have been to everyone’s taste, these remarks were mostly overlooked, but at other times caused a backlash.
One of those occasions took place in 2011 when Jeremy described a Jaguar XKR-S in an episode of “Top Gear”: ‘It’s very fast and very, very loud. And then in the corners, it will get its tail out more readily than George Michael’. These remarks were strongly disapproved by Michael himself, who took to Twitter to call Jeremy a ‘pig-ugly homophobic’.
This incident wasn’t the last time Jeremy was accused of homophobia, as in 2019 he described Jeeps as a ‘gay icon’ of a car during an episode of “The Grand Tour”, annoying British singer Will Young, who described the attitude as ‘pathetic’, ‘shaming’ and ‘bigoted’.
For his part, Jeremy denied being homophobic for enjoying ‘watching lesbians on the internet’, as he wrote in his column on The Sun.
Punching Piers Morgan
It’s not every day that two controversial personalities come face to face, but in the case of Jeremy Clarkson and Piers Morgan, their scandalous confrontation was probably due to happen sooner than later.
It all started in 2002, when Piers Morgan published photos of Jeremy with a woman who wasn’t Frances Cain, his wife at the time. Apparently, Jeremy had asked Piers to refrain from publishing the photos, but the request was ignored by the then-editor of The Mirror UK.
A year after that incident, Piers and Jeremy recorded a TV ad for the British airliner Concorde, though their interaction resulted in Jeremy throwing a glass of water over the journalist. However, in 2004 their beef reached its peak when both men attended that year’s British Press Awards, and Jeremy punched Piers in the face. As affirmed by Jeremy, he was ‘calm and sober’ during the incident, but had become upset following Piers’ ‘unkind’ remarks about his wife, resulting in him repeatedly hitting Piers in the face.
The waters have been calm between the pair for over a decade now, though. As admitted by Piers during a 2014’s interview with The Sun, he and Jeremy had solved their issues after a drinking session.
Comments About Muslims and Women
Throughout his career, Jeremy Clarkson has faced a huge backlash for his comments on minorities, especially when it comes to Muslims and women.
Back in 2009, “Top Gear” was questioned for not having female hosts, to which Jeremy retaliated by claiming that TV executives ‘have got it into their heads that if one presenter on a show is a blond-haired, blue-eyed heterosexual boy, the other must be a black Muslim lesbian’, he wrote in Top Gear’s Magazine, describing the ‘combination’ as ‘chalk and cheese’, while “Top Gear”s cast was ‘cheese and cheese’ and hence it ‘confused’ executives.
While some took Jeremy’s comments with humor, others didn’t appreciate the remarks. A year later, he also commented how the traditional Muslim garment burka ‘didn’t work’ at preventing men from looking at women on the streets: ‘a woman in a full burka crossing the road in front of me tripped over the pavement, went head over heels and up it came, red g-string and stockings’, he said in an episode of “Top Gear. As soon as the next day, hundreds of complaints on the issue were sent to the BBC.
Insults Towards Mexicans
Some of the most controversial “Top Gear” moments involved several remarks made by Jeremy and his co-stars about Mexican people, in a series of episodes aired in 2011. It all started when the presenters talked about the then-newly released Mastretta MXT, a sports car designed entirely by the Mexican manufacturer of the same name.
While the jokes started with the presenters calling the auto ‘The Tortilla”, later remarks about Mexican people’s alleged ‘laziness’ and unkind descriptions of the country’s food weren’t taken so lightly. The then-Mexican ambassador to the UK Eduardo Medina Mora, sent an open letter to BBC, in which he not only condemned the trio’s comments directed at his country as ‘xenophobic’ and ‘offensive’, but also requested an apology from “Top Gear” hosts.
While the network issued an apology to the Embassy, they argued that “Top Gear”s hosts’ humor was typically British. The comments were removed from the international airings of the series, though that didn’t stop Jeremy from dressing as a stereotypical Mexican, and making jokes about the incident in the panel show “Have I Got News for You”. Further remarks about Mexico and the Mastretta MXT were made by the presenters in the following episodes of “Top Gear”.
Comments On Meghan Markle
One of the most controversial moments in Jeremy Clarkson’s career was prompted by his comments on the Netflix documentary “Harry & Meghan”, centered on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and released in late 2022.
As he wrote in The Sun, he didn’t like the docuseries in the least, and expressed his annoyance at Meghan Markle, pointing out how ‘despairing’ it was that she was considered ‘cool’ by younger generations. Nonetheless, the most scandalous part was his confession of how he dreamed of the day ‘when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her’, he wrote.
His comments weren’t taken lightly by anyone, and though he took to Twitter to apologize and claim he was referencing a “Game Of Thrones” scene with his remark, that didn’t stop the backlash coming his way. According to the BBC, over 20,000 complaints were sent to the British Office Of Communications regarding Jeremy’s comments, prompting an apology from The Sun as well.
Following the huge backlash faced by Jeremy Clarkson for his comments on “Harry and Meghan”, his most recent show “Clarkson’s Farm” is at risk of getting canceled. As reported by Variety in January 2023, the show will most likely end in 2024, as Amazon Prime Video is set to part ways with Clarkson. The platform also produces “The Grand Tour”, though the future of that show is also uncertain.
All these issues bring back memories from when Jeremy was fired by BBC in 2015, but will Jeremy find a way to return to the entertainment world after such a scandal and the possible cancellation of his shows once again? Only time will tell.