Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson has sparked outrage after saying he believes that all strikers should be executed in front of their families.
Appearing on The One Show, Clarkson denounced the strike yesterday saying:
“I would 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 have got these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed and the rest of us have to work for a living.”
Presenters Alex Jones and Matt Baker looked uneasy as Clarkson made his comments. The audience laughed loudly at Clarkson’s initial “I would have them all shot” quote, yet the laughter subsided somewhat as he carried on. Whilst clearly in jest, Clarkson is known for his inflammatory comments that he passes off as jokes, yet others take offence to.
The comments led to an apology by the BBC, which stated: “The One Show apologised at the end of the show to viewers who may have been offended by Jeremy Clarkson’s comments.”
EDIT: 01/12/11 Union seeking legal advice over Clarkson comments
It has been announced that Unison, a leading union, is seeking legal advice over comments made by Clarkson on The One Show.
Unison, which represents over a million public sector workers, called on the corporation to sack the Top Gear presenter, and said it was considering whether the comments should be passed on to the police.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: “Clarkson’s comments on the One Show were totally outrageous, and they cannot be tolerated. We are seeking urgent legal advice about what further action we can take against him and the BBC, and whether or not his comments should be referred to the police.
“Public sector workers and their families are utterly shocked by Jeremy Clarkson’s revolting comments. We know that many other licence fee-payers share our concerns about his outrageous views.
“The One Show is broadcast at a time when children are watching – they could have been scared and upset by his aggressive statements. An apology is not enough – we are calling on the BBC to sack Jeremy Clarkson immediately. Such disgusting statements have no place on our TV screens.
“Jeremy Clarkson clearly needs a reminder of just who he is talking about when he calls for public sector workers to be shot in front of their families. 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.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said Clarkson’s comments were “a silly thing to say… I’m sure he didn’t mean it”.
Clarkson’s comments were always going to spark controversy, but again we have to be careful about the issue of free speech. Granted, his comments were a bit aggressive for day-time television, and perhaps he should have kept such comments to himself rather than stating them on national television. However, we do have to struggle to maintain the right to freedom of speech these days, it seems.
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