Clarkson sees `nothing wrong' with his racist views

David Lister
Saturday 27 November 1999 00:02

THE BBC presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who has made a good living out of being forthright to the point of boorishness, today admits broadcasting racist comments on his chat show and holding prejudiced views about foreigners.

He makes the admission on Channel 4's Right to Reply, after being asked whether comments on his Clarkson programme are racist. He says "Yes ... I don't see there is anything necessarily wrong with prejudice. I am hugely prejudiced about everything. Prejudice is what makes the world go round. If we all thought the same and did the same and we were not allowed to express an opinion, we would live in a terribly boring place."

In one show, Mr Clarkson said: "Spain in the afternoon is closed. This is because the Spanish go for a nap. They even have a word for it - siesta. Of course, we have two words for it: lazy and bastard."

He also called the Spanish "a race which likes to poke holes in bulls and torture donkeys".

Elaine Bedell, Mr Clarkson's producer, denies that the presenter's remarks about people from other countries give serious cause for concern. She said: "I wish I thought we were causing a problem but I am not sure it is that important. It is just entertainment.

"On the whole we have produced some very funny television. That is what we are being asked to do and that is what we have done." But Chris Bothman, director of legal services at the Commission for Racial Equality, was not amused. He said: "I do not think comments aimed at a person that seek to humiliate or distress or denigrate them, because of where they come from or what they look like, can be regarded as a joke."

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