An interview with Jeremy Clarkson by Jeremy Paxman for the Financial Times has suggested the former BBC presenter’s “real crime is to be too nosily male.”
The conversation with the veteran BBC broadcaster and journalist steers away from the personal – “I began by promising ... not to ask him about his private life” – and instead focusses on the fallout from his exit from the BBC and new venture with Amazon, as well as his relationship with the public.
Paxman suggests one of the real problems many in the media may have is Clarkson has committed the “cardinal British sin of being successful.”
But: “It is hard to resist the suspicion that Clarkson’s real crime is to be too noisily male.”
Paxman does touch on “The Incident” (as he describes it) that saw Clarkson, having co-presented the BBC’s most commercially successful show Top Gear, leave the channel amid a national media storm.
Clarkson verbally and physically assaulted a male BBC producer, with the corporation electing not to renew the presenter’s contract following the incident.
While Clarkson’s conduct was “unacceptable” the broadcaster adds: "But there was an unmistakable smell of glee in the commentariat, which went far beyond the alleged facts of the case."
He goes on to query whether – having asked two BBC producers who “both happened to be women” – the dislike Clarkson provokes was simply “a gender matter?”
The two then become involved in a conversation about “the sexiest scene in film” with Paxman only noting their conversation on account of giving the “Ancient Guid of FT Lunchgivers” an “honest account of their conversation.”
Towards the end of the lunch Paxman – like many others – pins the success of Top Gear to its unabashed maleness, describing how it success was due to viewers wanting “to be part of their gang.”
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