By Kurtis Lee and Scott Collins
Los Angeles Times (TNS)
The BBC will not renew the contract of Jeremy Clarkson, the scrappy host of BBC’s “Top Gear” car show, after an alleged and widely publicized fracas with a producer on the show.
A BBC statement on Wednesday said a physical altercation occurred between Clarkson and producer Oinsin Tymon, and the BBC also published its internal investigation of the incident.
“This has obviously been difficult for everyone involved but in particular for (producer Oisin Tymon). I want to make clear that no blame attaches to him for this incident. He has behaved with huge integrity throughout. As a senior producer at the BBC he will continue to have an important role within the organization in the future,” said Tony Hall, BBC’s director general, in a statement. “Obviously none of us wanted to find ourselves in this position. This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC.”
BBC declined to renew Clarkson’s contract despite an online petition in support of Clarkson that garnered more than 1 million signatures. Clarkson is a famously outspoken host who has frequently landed in hot water by making behind-the-scenes jokes and offhand remarks that many have found racist or insensitive. He’s a major celebrity in Britain and is very recognizable to car buffs around the world. “Top Gear” airs in the U.S. on BBC America, and a different version with different hosts airs on History.
The incident occurred March 4 at the Simonstone Hall Hotel where Oisin was working on location for “Top Gear.” A verbal exchange between the two men ensued and then a 30 second physical altercation, according to the BBC investigation. The physical altercation left Tymon with swelling and bleeding to his lip. In the days after the incident, Clarkson made several attempts to apologize to Tymon via text and email, according to the report.
Clarkson on Tuesday thanked fans for their support.
“Many many thanks to all of the people who have called for my reinstatement. I’m very touched,” he wrote on Twitter.
In a statement, Tymon said “Top Gear” is a program he loves.
“Over that time Jeremy and I had a positive and successful working relationship, making some landmark projects together. He is a unique talent and I am well aware that many will be sorry that his involvement in the show should end this way,””Tymon said.