Jeremy Clarkson petition tops 300,000 signatures as Change.org reveals campaign is site's most popular for two years

Guido Fawkes, who started petition, blamed 'left-wing pinko bed wetters' for decision

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The Independent Culture

More than 300,000 people have signed a petition calling on the BBC to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson after the Top Gear presenter was suspended because of a “fracas” with a producer.

The controversial presenter allegedly “punched” the man because there was no food laid on at the end of a long day filming, it has been reported.

Clarkson, 54, “saw red” and “snapped” over the catering issue in Newcastle, according to the Daily Mirror, in a move that has led to the rest of the series being dropped.

The presenter’s fans and avid viewers of the show reacted with outrage, flooding to a petition set up by right-wing political blogger Guido Fawkes, real name Paul Staines.

It hit 300,000 signatures just 18 hours after going online with the message: “We the undersigned petition the BBC to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson. Freedom to fracas. #BringBackClarkson”

The BBC declined to comment on whether the petition would influence its decision on the presenter's future appearances.

Change.org said the petition was the site's fastest growing in two years, since one challenging Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week took off in April 2013.

Other recent petitions which have grown at a similarly rapid rate include the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, one to stop MPs policing their own expenses and another to save London's New Era Estate.

Mr Staines released a statement on his blog after it passed the 275,000 mark on Wednesday morning. It said: “Top Gear is the BBC’s greatest export and Jeremy Clarkson is central to the show’s success.

“He’s a living legend and the overwhelming success of the petition shows how popular he is with the British people.

“A bunch of left-wing pinkos at the BBC have been out to get him for ages, we want to see him re-instated and the BBC’s bed wetters defeated.”

“Pinko” is a derogatory American slang name for communist sympathisers.

The BBC confirmed yesterday that Clarkson had been suspended after what it called a “fracas” and said that Sunday's episode of Top Gear, which was set to feature the presenters getting to grips with classic cars such as a Fiat 124 Spider, an MGB GT and a Peugeot 304 cabriolet, alongside Gary Lineker, would not be shown.

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Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America

The remaining two episodes of the show in the current series are also believed to have been postponed.

It is not the first time Clarkson has been embroiled by controversy that has led to him being celebrated by some as a challenger of “political correctness”.

Last year he was forced to apologise for using the racial slur “n*****” in an un-aired Top Gear segment and almost sparked a riot in Argentina after he drove a Porsche with the number plate H982 FKL, which was regarded as a deliberate reference to the Falklands War of 1982.

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A montage of the registration plates on the Top Gear cars in Argentina.

The show landed itself a place in the Guinness Book of Records for most watched factual programme in the world and has an estimated global audience of 350 million, being sold to 214 countries.

Clarkson himself made more than £14 million from Top Gear in 2012 after a BBC move to take full control of the hit series' production company.

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