Jeremy Clarkson's 'execute strikers' outburst sparks 21,000 complaints

 

Jeremy Clarkson's TV outburst in which he said striking workers "should be shot" has led to more than 21,000 complaints to the BBC.

The Top Gear host - who made his comments during BBC1's The One Show on Wednesday - has since apologised, together with the BBC.

The incident led to condemnation by union leaders and politicians, with Prime Minister David Cameron branding the presenter's comments "silly".

Clarkson said his comments were not meant to have been taken seriously, as he made his apology yesterday. But in an interview with The Sun today he appeared to be taking the matter less than seriously when he also apologised to sparrows, after saying he did not like them during the same interview.

The BBC said today that the number of complaints about his remarks had reached 21,335 by this morning.

In a statement yesterday afternoon, Clarkson said: "I didn't for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously - as I believe is clear if they're seen in context.

"If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I'm quite happy to apologise for it alongside them."

The BBC said the item "wasn't perfectly judged".

Clarkson's gaffe came as he appeared on TV on the evening of Britain's biggest public sector strikes for 30 years.

Speaking about the strikers, he said: "I'd have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.

"I mean, how dare they go on strike when they've got these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed while the rest of us have to work for a living?"

Despite the apology, Clarkson told The Sun today that "there isn't a case to answer" in the context of the full interview.

He added: "It's a knee-jerk reaction to something where you're only getting part of the story".

Labour leader Ed Miliband was among those who took a dim view of the words he chose on live TV, calling the comments "absolutely disgraceful and disgusting".

He said: "He obviously does not understand the lives of the people who were going out on strike yesterday."

Mr Cameron, a personal friend of Clarkson, said: "It was obviously a silly thing to say."

The Unison union had called on the corporation to sack the presenter over the "appalling" comments.

General secretary Dave Prentis had said: "Such disgusting statements have no place on our TV screens.

"Whilst he is driving round in fast cars for a living, public sector workers are busy holding our society together - they save others' lives on a daily basis, they care for the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly."

Clarkson's motor mouth has regularly landed him in hot water.

Earlier this year the BBC apologised about an item on Top Gear which led to the Mexican ambassador complaining about the "outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults" made about Mexicans by Clarkson and co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond.

The BBC's editorial complaints unit upheld criticisms of the show and ruled that it reinforced stereotypes.

In February 2009, Clarkson famously called then-prime minister Gordon Brown a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" and in November the previous year, the BBC received almost 2,000 complaints when he joked about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Analytics Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading organisation...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices