Or, is this about trying to absolve the past?
I have always found Jeremy Clarkson to be the personification of an obnoxious loathsome git. He is the classic rude, boorish, sexist, Yorkshireman.
Because yes, dear reader, said arrogant egotistical 54-year-old boy is a similar age to me, comes from not very far away, and even trained as a journalist in Yorkshire. Shudder. Anyway, I never met him. There were plenty of other sexist, arrogant, obnoxious male Yorkshire journos to contend with.
He has been allowed to get away with sexism, homophobia, racism, environmental damage, and really whatever he has wanted.
Wiki has a long list of his ‘antics’ but I’ll pick possibly my favourite.
In November 2008, Clarkson attracted over 500 complaints to the BBC when he joked about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.
The BBC stated the comment was a comic rebuttal of a common misconception about lorry drivers and was within the viewer’s expectation of Clarkson’s Top Gear persona.
Well clearly the BBC hadn’t been a woman living in Yorkshire in the late 70s, when the *Yorkshire Ripper who was a lorry driver murdered 13 women and attempted to murder 7 others.
I do not think all lorry drivers murder prostitutes because one did.
But one did, and he was a serial killer. And for Clarkson to make a joke about it, is beyond words. For those of you who don’t understand sexism, that is sexism at its finest.
Killing women is not funny.
Killing prostitutes is no different. This is not funny either.
But worse, this buys into the fact that because prostitutes sell sex, they value even less than non-prostitute women.
And making jokes about it is sick and grossly sexist to the point of misogynistic. What on earth is funny about someone being killed?
It is no way a ‘comic’ rebuttal. It is offensive and disrespectful to women who were killed and to their families.
Chris Mole, the Member of Parliament for Ipswich, where five prostitutes were murdered in 2006, wrote a “strongly worded” letter to BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, demanding that Clarkson be sacked.
Clarkson dismissed Mole’s comments in his Sunday Times column the following weekend, writing, “There are more important things to worry about than what some balding and irrelevant middle-aged man might have said on a crappy BBC2 motoring show.”
This is the irrelevant middle-aged man worth an approx £30 mill and who fronts a ‘crappy’ programme with a five mill viewing in the UK and sold all over the world? Very modest Jeremy. Very.
Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of the Eddie Stobart Group, a major trucking company, stated that “They were just having a laugh. It’s the 21st century, let’s get our sense of humour in line.”
This is the 21st century Andrew, let’s stop going back to our caves. Or at least if you do. Just. Stay. There. Preferably with Jeremy.
What’s wrong with this comment by Tinkler? It’s the classic defence to sexism.
It is funny to joke about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes. Really?
No. It is not. And please do not accuse anyone who doesn’t find it funny of lacking a sense of humour. Maybe you lack a little empathy for murdered women and their families. Truckman.
Another sexism quote at its finest. ‘Just having a laugh.’
But anyway, there are more of Clarkson’s Classics on wiki should you choose to read his oh-so-important views.
My real question here, is that, as he has now allegedly punched someone because he got a cold cheese platter instead of a red hot man’s meat meal, why is the BBC making such a fuss?
Of course Jeremy shouldn’t punch people – if he did – and of course the BBC shouldn’t condone it. But they’ve let all his other outbursts go with a gentle rap on those tough macho knuckles.
Or is this about finally catching up with the past? And putting today’s values, guilt and morals (or lack of) onto yesterday’s events.
Because, is Clarkson today’s Savile or Harris? Just using and abusing his powerful position to do whatever he wants. And say whatever he wants? I’m not for a minute saying he has raped and molested children and young people like the other two. So go away Clarkson lawyers. But, the BBC let these things go in the past. Or didn’t know. Or something. And in the case of Savile, not just the beeb, but the NHS and the police.
The bigger issue here, is how much power do famous people have, and how much does their bad, discriminatory, or illegal behaviour get overlooked?
And how much do we, the public, support it?
Could Clarkson end up paying the price for his own obnoxious behaviour? Or, with management’s hindsight, paying the price for that of his egotistical predecessors? There again, should Clarkson have been gone before?
Does the BBC finally think they need to stop letting their superstars rule the roost? Doubtful. As with everything, viewing figures, and more importantly, money, always rules.
For the record, I did like Rolf Harris. I didn’t like Savile. I may even have spoken to him on the phone once or twice as a reporter. Hardly my claim to fame.
*I’ll write about the Yorkshire Ripper from a personal perspective next. It might help to show why jokes about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes are not funny.