TIME Television

Here’s 6 Times the BBC Should Have Suspended Jeremy Clarkson but Didn’t

The British Top Gear host is no stranger to controversy

Has Jeremy Clarkson finally crossed the line?

The 54-year-old auto journalist and presenter of the hit show Top Gear has been suspended by the BBC after he allegedly tried to punch a producer. The broadcaster announced Clarkson’s suspension in a statement released on Tuesday, which read: “Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation. No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.”

A pro-Clarkson protest has already broken out, with an online petition demanding that the presenter be reinstated racking up more than 380,000 signatures. That support can likely be chalked up to the Top Gear brand’s massive popularity — with 350 million viewers a week worldwide, the Emmy Award–winning show is one of the most popular television franchises on the planet. The show is known and loved by many for its brand of offensive humor and disregard for political correctness.

Yet this is hardly the first time that Clarkson has caused trouble for the BBC. The often rude and imprudent host has been at the center of many controversies throughout his time at Top Gear, which he first began hosting in 1988. Particularly since the midaughts, Clarkson has been criticized for intolerance, mocking other cultures and outright racism. The BBC has often had to deal with the fallout of Clarkson’s controversies, typically issuing defenses of or apologies for his behavior.

This latest incident marks the first time the BBC has suspended Clarkson, though there have been a number of past occasions where the broadcaster would have been justified in either temporarily or permanently cutting ties with the presenter.

1. Using the N Word
Years ago, Top Gear filmed the presenter choosing between two cars, where Clarkson used the nursery rhyme “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe” to make the decision. In the footage, not used on the show but discovered and reported by the tabloid the Daily Mirror in 2014, Clarkson mumbles the N word while reciting the rhyme.

After first issuing a strong denial, Clarkson released an apology video online. He explained that while filming he had, “mumbled where the offensive word would normally occur.” But after rewatching the footage, he realized, “It did appear that I had actually used the word I was trying to obscure.”

He then added, “Please be assured, I did everything in my power to not use that word.”

2. Nazi Jokes
In a 2005 episode, the Top Gear team discussed a German-built BMW Mini and Clarkson made a series of Nazi references. After raising his arm in a Hitler-style salute, Clarkson mocked the 1939 invasion that triggered the World War II, saying that a quintessentially German car would have a GPS “that only goes to Poland.”

There were numerous complaints, however the BBC Governors’ Programme Complaints Committee responded that while they “agreed that comments about the Nazis and the Second World War could certainly cause more concern than many other subjects,” they “did not believe that, when looking at the audience as a whole, they would have felt that the comments were anything more than Jeremy Clarkson using outrageous behaviour to amuse his audience, and that the remarks would not have led to anyone entertaining new or different feelings or concerns about Germans or Germany.”

3. Using a Slur Against Asians While Filming in Thailand
During a Top Gear special in Burma, which aired in March 2014, Clarkson and crew built a bamboo bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand. Once the bridge was completed, Clarkson said of the bridge, as the camera showed an Asian man walking across it, “That is a proud moment — but there’s a slope on it.” There was a swift backlash, with many calling out Clarkson for racism.

The BBC issued an apology in response to the controversy, stating: “When we used the word ‘slope’ in the recent Top Gear Burma Special it was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it. We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word ‘slope’ is considered by some to be offensive and although it might not be widely recognised in the UK, we appreciate that it can be considered offensive to some here and overseas, for example in Australia and the USA. If we had known that at the time we would not have broadcast the word in this context and regret any offence caused.”

4. Punching Piers Morgan
In 2004, Clarkson punched Piers Morgan — then the editor of the British tabloid the Daily Mirror — while the two were attending the British Press Awards. Though Clarkson later said he was “ashamed of it,” he didn’t shy away from boasting about the dustup on national television.

5. Insulting Then Prime Minister Gordon Brown
During the fallout of the global financial crisis in 2008, Clarkson called then Prime Minister Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish idiot.” (Brown lost his sight in one eye after an accident playing rugby as a teen.) The insult prompted immediate backlash from Scottish politicians and disability groups. Clarkson issued an apology, stating, “In the heat of the moment I made a remark about the prime minister’s personal appearance for which, upon reflection, I apologise.”

6. Anti-Americanism
Clarkson has become known for his hostility toward the U.S. There have been many times — on Top Gear, in interviews and in his writing for the British newspaper the Sun — that he’s denounced American culture and people. But he perhaps took it a bit too far in 2005, where he wrote in a Sun article criticizing the rescue efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina: “Most Americans barely have the brains to walk on their back legs.”

Read next: Future of BBC’s Top Gear Uncertain After Host Suspended

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TIME Television

Top Gear Host Jeremy Clarkson Has Been Suspended After a ‘Fracas’ With a Producer

He's no stranger to controversy

British Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC.

Clarkson, 54, who is known for being outspoken, had already been given a final warning about his behavior after claims that he had used a racist slur during filming two years ago, Reuters reports.

“Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation,” the BBC said in a statement on Tuesday.

The U.K. broadcaster reported that he stands accused of hitting the producer during an argument last week.

Clarkson has not commented on the suspension.

Sunday’s episode of the current season will not be broadcast and it is uncertain whether the remaining episodes will be shown.

Top Gear is one of the BBC’s most successful television programs and is watched in more than 200 countries.

READ MORE: Here’s 6 Times the BBC Should Have Suspended Jeremy Clarkson But Didn’t

Read next: Julie Andrews on The Sound of Music at 50 — And That NBC Remake

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Asks for Some of Her Emails to be Released

The former Secretary of State looks to get ahead of a brewing controversy

Hillary Clinton, embroiled in a controversy over her use of personal email during her time as Secretary of State, said late Wednesday that she’s asked the State Department to release her some of her correspondence.

“I want the public to see my email,” Clinton said in a tweet Wednesday evening. “I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.”

The likely 2016 presidential candidate’s aides reportedly turned over more than 50,000 pages of emails over to the State Department in compliance with new rules passed late last year. But it was subsequently revealed by the Associated Press that Clinton also used a private email server registered to her family home in Chappaqua, N.Y., which would make it more difficult for her online correspondence to be accessed by court orders or public requests. And her tweet made no mention of releasing emails her aides reviewed and then declined to hand over to the State Department.

“The State Department will review for public release the emails provided by Secretary Clinton to the Department, using a normal process that guides such releases,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. “We will undertake this review as quickly as possible; given the sheer volume of the document set, this review will take some time to complete.”

TIME

There’s An Escalating Neighborhood War Over The Hollywood Sign

USA, California, Los Angeles, Hollywood Sign
Chris Cheadle—All Canada Photos/Getty Images The Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California.

There are tensions between those who live nearby and tourists who visit

It’s one of the most famous icons of the U.S., symbolizing the promise of money, fame and new beginnings. But now it’s also the site of physical injuries, public urination and sex. The Hollywood sign is inciting growing tensions between its wealthy neighbors and the tourists who journey there.

Jeffrey Kleiser lives in the closest house to the sign and calls it “a disaster waiting to happen,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. He describes the reckless pilgrims to the sign: “It’s late at night, they fall down, knock on your door and go, ‘I’m bleeding. Can I use your phone?’ It’s more drama than you want when you’re leading a peaceful life.”

The drama between the eager, sometimes aggressive tourists who come with their cigarettes, selfie sticks and condoms and the neighborhood residents is escalating. Heather Hamza, who lives in the neighborhood by the sign, told the Hollywood Reporter, “There is rising, palpable tension between the residents and visitors. Everybody is infuriated. I shudder to think if any of these people coming up here have weapons in their cars. One of these days someone will get shot — it is that bad.”

[THR]

TIME Books

Video Blogger’s Ghostwriter Says She Had ‘Issues’ with Girl Online

YouTube blogger Zoe Sugg, known as Zoella, poses during a photocall for her debut novel "Girl Online" in London Nov. 24, 2014.
Luke MacGregor—Reuters YouTube blogger Zoe Sugg, known as Zoella, poses during a photocall for her debut novel "Girl Online" in London Nov. 24, 2014.

Author breaks silence to defend herself and the book

The author who has been described as the ghostwriter behind YouTube star Zoella’s New York Times best-selling young adult novel Girl Online said she had issues with the way the project was managed that she is barred from discussing.

The Sunday Times of London named British Young Adult writer Siobhan Curham as the likely ghostwriter of the book by Zoella, whose real name is Zoe Sugg. Curham, along with author and editorial director at Penguin U.K., Amy Alward, were mentioned in Sugg’s acknowledgements for Girl Online — but many people criticized Sugg for not explicitly crediting a ghostwriter.

On Monday, Girl Online‘s publisher Penguin told TIME in a statement that, “The factual accuracy of the matter is simply that Zoe Sugg did not write Girl Online on her own. For her first novel, Girl Online, Zoe has worked with an expert editorial team to help her bring to life her characters and experiences in a heartwarming and compelling story.”

Despite the online backlash that erupted against Sugg, Curham had stayed quiet on the controversy. But on Wednesday, Curham posted a defense of both herself and Sugg to her blog. Writing that she had signed on to help Sugg with the book not to become “famous” or “rich,” Curham said that she’d agreed because she loves writing and “helping others write books.” She did, however, note that it wasn’t an entirely enjoyable process, saying:

I did have some issues with how the project was managed. Issues which I expressed on more than one occasion. Issues which I’m afraid I’m not allowed to go into. And issues which have nothing to do with Zoe. I’ve seen at first hand how caring and considerate Zoe is. I’ve been very impressed with how she finds ways to use her (completely unexpected) fame to help others, whether that be through her vlogs, blogs, books or becoming a digital ambassador for the mental health charity MIND.

Curham also noted that she couldn’t reveal the precise nature of the work she did on the book, for “legal reasons,” though she did say, “Zoe Sugg chose to create a storyline that dealt with [issues such as cyber bullying, homophobia and anxiety] out of a desire to help her fans. And, when I was offered the opportunity to help Zoe, I also saw the opportunity to help get important and empowering messages across to her incredibly huge fan-base.”

And, perhaps proving that she really is a fan of the perpetually optimistic Sugg, Curham also found the bright spot in the whole ordeal. “By breaking sales records — because of Zoe’s humungous fan-base — book stores such as Waterstones are ending the year on healthy profits,” she writes. “Thousands of young people across the world have been tweeting excitedly about reading a book!”

MONEY Shopping

Controversial Abercrombie CEO Steps Down

Michael S. Jeffries, chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch.
Mark Lennihan—AP Michael S. Jeffries, former CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch.

The CEO who called his brand "exclusionary" and only for "cool kids" is retiring.

Michael Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, is retiring effective immediately, the clothing retailer announced on Tuesday.

Jeffries, who made headlines with tone-deaf comments about the company’s business practices, was relieved of his duties as chairman in January after investors became dissatisfied with his leadership.

Abercrombie stock—which rose more than 6% on the news—is down more than 60% from its highs in 2006-2007 and down almost 20% in the last year.

Jeffries, who during his 20-year tenure with the company turned it into a trendy powerhouse with more than $1 billion in sales, took heat in recent years for failing to keep up with “fast fashion” brands like Forever 21 and Zara and falling out of favor with its primary teen demographic. But the now-former CEO also tarnished the brand through a series of poorly conceived public statements and business decisions that alienated potential customers.

In an infamous 2006 interview with Salon, Jeffries bragged:

In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids… A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.

And:

That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.

That interview later resurfaced in 2013, along with news that Abercrombie was refusing to offer plus-size clothing, even as competitors like H&M began to make their sizing more inclusive. Together, the revelations caused renewed backlash against the brand.

According to the company’s announcement, a management team led by Executive Chairman Arthur Martinez will manage the company until a new CEO is appointed.

 

TIME Companies

Uber Investigating Executive Over Use of ‘God View’ to Spy on User

After spate of bad publicity

Uber said Tuesday that it’s investigating one of its top New York executives for tracking a reporter without her permission.

The ride-sharing App has a system known as “God View,” BuzzFeed reports, in which the location of Uber vehicles and waiting customers are “widely available to corporate employees.” BuzzFeed reports that an executive used this system to track one of its reporters while she was working on a story about the company that has put it under fire for revelations that an executive raised the prospect of investigating journalists.

Early this November, one of the reporters of this story, Johana Bhuiyan, arrived to Uber’s New York headquarters in Long Island City for an interview with Josh Mohrer, the general manager of Uber New York. Stepping out of her vehicle — an Uber car — she found Mohrer waiting for her. “There you are,” he said, holding his iPhone and gesturing at it. “I was tracking you.”

Mohrer never asked for permission to track her.

[BuzzFeed]

TIME Netherlands

Dutch Blackface Tradition Sparks Festive Fury and 90 Arrests

Netherlands Belgium Black Pete
Peter Dejong—AP Police detain an anti–Black Pete demonstrator as St. Nicholas arrived in the Dutch city of Gouda on Nov. 15, 2014

Revelers donning blackface, Afro wigs and red lips clash with antiracist protesters

A pre-Christmas children’s gathering in the Netherlands, held to celebrate the arrival of St. Nicholas, was broken up by clashes Saturday after demonstrators objected to a blackface character named Black Pete.

At least 90 people were arrested in the cheesemaking town of Gouda, the Associated Press (AP) reports, after scuffles broke out between traditionalists who claim there is no racist intention behind the Black Pete character and protesters who say Black Pete has no place in the modern Netherlands.

Part of the yuletide folklore of the Netherlands and Belgium, Black Pete character is a sidekick to St. Nicholas, carrying presents and giving out candy to children. Revelers who dress up as the character are almost always white. As well as blackening their faces, they wear frizzy Afro wigs and give themselves red lips.

The introduction of supposedly more diverse versions of the character this year — a yellow “Cheese Pete” (representing Gouda’s most famous product), a light brown “Stroopwafel Pete” (named for a Dutch biscuit) and a white-faced “Clown Pete” — failed to placate demonstrators.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told local media the clashes made him “deeply, deeply sad.” He said, “Everybody can debate one another, we can endlessly discuss the color of Black Pete, but we should not disturb a children’s party in this way.”

However, like many Dutch and Belgian liberals, Wouter Van Bellingen, a black Flemish politician, believes the character is an anachronism. “As a majority you have to be sensitive and show empathy for things that are hurtful to a minority,” he told AP.

 

TIME Body Image

Old Navy Explains Why It Charges More for Women’s Plus Sizes

US-ECONOMY-OLD NAVY
SAUL LOEB—AFP/Getty Images An Old Navy clothing store is seen in Springfield, Virginia,/AFP/Getty Images)

Almost 20,000 people petitioned the company to stop

Old Navy is under fire for its double standards when it comes to plus size clothing prices. While men pay the same price for regular and larger sizes, women get charged up to $12 to $15 more for plus sized items.

Almost 20,000 people have signed a petition asking Old Navy to change its practices. Renee Posey, who started the Change.org petition, notes that while she was “fine paying the extra money as a plus-sized woman, because, you know, more fabric equals higher cost of manufacture,” she was alarmed that the same standards didn’t apply to men, inciting that “Old Navy is participating in both sexism and sizeism, directed only at women.”

Old Navy’s explanation? A spokesperson for Gap Inc., the retailer’s parent company, issued a statement to TIME (among other outlets):

Old Navy is proud to offer styles and apparel designed specifically for the plus size customer. For women, styles are not just larger sizes of other women’s items, they are created by a team of designers who are experts in creating the most flattering and on-trend plus styles, which includes curve-enhancing and curve-flattering elements such as four-way stretch materials and contoured waistbands, which most men’s garments do not include. This higher price point reflects the selection of unique fabrics and design elements.

So more detail equals more money.

Spokesperson Debbie Felix didn’t respond to questions about Posey’s rebuttal about why the extra cost doesn’t apply to regular women’s clothing that includes the same fabrics and “figure-enhancing elements.”

A look at Old Navy’s petite section shows that the retailer charges the same amount for its smaller sizes as it does its “regular” sizes.

[BuzzFeed]

TIME Culture

Amy Schumer Fought to Say This Word on Comedy Central and Won

The fight for gender equality applies to dirty words, too

Comedy Central comedians can now say the word “pussy” uncensored, thanks to Amy Schumer.

The word was a point of contention between her show, Inside Amy Schumer, and the cable network during the second season. Though certain other references to male sex organs were allowed on Comedy Central, this term for female genetalia was not. Dan Powell, the show’s executive producer, had argued for its use and cited gender inequality.

“Dan decided that it wasn’t fair that they bleep the word ‘pussy,'” Schumer, explained at a Paley Center for Media panel this past weekend, according to Vulture. “Because you are allowed to say the word ‘dick’ on Comedy Central,” added Jessi Klein, head writer and executive producer.

If any show could win that battle, it was Inside Amy Schumer, a sketch show that often comments and criticizes the different standards for women and men. “Halfway through the first season, we started to realize that a lot of the show was addressing women’s issues and gender politics,” said Powell. “I’d written a letter, sort of like write I’d write to my congressman, and I guess it struck a chord.” Schumer called the victory Powell’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment.

The writers embraced the new privilege with gusto. Check out the first sketch where the word isn’t bleeped out.

[Vulture]

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