Jeremy Clarkson rides his bicycle in London while being chased by reporters after the BBC drops the “Top Gear” motoring show presenter after finding he had physically attacked a producer.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 25, 2015) (POOL) – British “Top Gear” motoring show presenter Jeremy Clarkson was chased down by reporters as he cycled through a London neighbourhood on Wednesday (March 25) night, hours after the BBC announced it dropped him for physically attacking a producer.
The fate of 54-year-old Clarkson, a man who built a global fan base while repeatedly causing offence with strongly worded views, had been the subject of feverish speculation in Britain and beyond since he was suspended on March 10 following what the publicly funded broadcaster initially described as “a fracas”.
Releasing more details on Wednesday, the BBC said Clarkson had struck producer Oisin Tymon, resulting in swelling and bleeding to his lip, and also subjected him to “prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature”. Tymon later went to hospital.
“I’m um … I’m off out, sorry,” Clarkson muttered when a reporter asked him how he was feeling.
Earlier on Wednesday, Tony Hall, the BBC’s director-general, had announced the decision in a statement.
“It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract.”
“For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated either by rank, or public relations and commercial considerations,” Hall added.
Top Gear, which is aired in more than 200 countries, is one of the BBC’s biggest money spinners with sales worth some 50 million pounds (US74.4 million dollars) a year for its commercial arm.
Those Clarkson has offended over the years include environmental groups, mental health and disability charities, cyclists, truck drivers, Indians, Germans, Mexicans and Argentinians. Many supporters see him as victim of a “politically correct” culture too eager to take offence.
Police in the northern English county of North Yorkshire, where the incident took place, said they had asked the BBC for its detailed findings. Police would then assess the information and take action “where necessary”, a statement said.
Speculation has already appeared in British media Clarkson could be snapped up by a rival broadcaster or by an Internet television network such as Netflix.
Clarkson has 4.8 million followers on Twitter and after his suspension well over a million people in Britain and around the world signed an online petition asking for him to be reinstated.