Hold on to your funny bones, folks - here it is:
Upon waking, said BBC presenter thought it would be absolutely hilarious to tweet the aforementioned photo to his 2.8m Twitter fans.
But it’s OK – Clarkson has ‘profusely apologised’ for the whole sorry episode in a smug-laden banter-tastic statement that arrogantly excuses himself from any misbehaviour in the first place (‘I have deleted my last tweet and would like to apologise profusely to anyone who I upset while I was asleep’ – do fuck off). That’s OK then. Now he can go back to flying around the world, driving sexy cars, joking about the Nazi invasion of Poland or women in burkas, and wackily suggesting public sector workers be executed in front of their families.
Sorry – not this time. Clarkson and whoever took the photo in the first place should be fired by the BBC.
I’d assume the core audience of Top Gear, Clarkson’s main exposure on TV, in which he and the lads wank on about fast cars for an hour a week - would be young males; boys who look up to him, respect him, want to be like him and go to school or college, talk about the show and re-hash his jokes.
In the crowd of 5m audience members will be a few bad people. Workplace bullies, school bullies, people who call things that are crap or worthless ‘gay’ because they’re too ignorant to think about what they’re saying. Let’s say 1000 of them are people like that. If 1000 bullies got up yesterday and went to 1000 schools, bandying about the phrase ‘Gay Cunt’ in front of 1000 young people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality and thinking they are somehow inferior to these hideous mini Jeremys, then Clarkson has probably successfully undone 1000 days of work by campaigners, teachers and decent parents who fight every day to stop this sort of behaviour in 12-year-olds, let alone people paid millions of pounds a year by our national broadcaster.
I don’t have a job in the public eye like Clarkson does. I work in an office. I don’t have 2.8m Twitter followers or present a high-profile TV show. But I’m fairly sure if I tweeted a photo of one my colleagues holding up the words Gay Cunt next to my head, I would be pretty promptly fired, or severely disciplined. I imagine my £1m salary would be under question next time there were funding cuts.
Oh sorry, that’s Jeremy’s salary, not mine. That’s excluding the £13m or so he’s been paid in dividends from the worldwide Top Gear brand. That salary’s paid for by the BBC, where nobody seems particularly bothered that one of their employees is consistently offending anyone who’s not one of his white, straight, middle-class millionaire lad-mates. Funny that – there was plenty of prompt action from the corporation last year when – shock, horror – Graham Norton dared to wear a World AIDS Day ribbon on his show. I haven’t seen one statement from the BBC condemning Clarkson’s cunt stunt.
And sorry – even stripping away the blatant homophobia (and that’s what it is – I’m not going to entertain anyone saying anything else) - I’m not convinced a TV presenter paid by the state should be bandying about the word ‘cunt’ so freely either.
Maybe I’ve lost my sense of humour. Banter! But I imagine the 41% of young gay people who have considered killing themselves because of homophobic bullying don’t find the whole sorry episode particularly hilarious either.
Clarkson’s knobhead behaviour is timely. Stonewall has launched a campaign to try and end the use of gay as a derogatory term (that’s so gay/you’re so gay/gay cunt – that sort of thing). They’ve found that 99% of young gay people hear those phrases every day at school, and a third alter their future educational plans because of it. A big shout out to Jeremy’s mates for adding such a pithy and direct new insult to the classroom catalogue.
Maybe our National Treasure should consider a substantial donation (he could probably spare a tenner or two from those Top Gear license fee millions) to Stonewall’s work to ensure that his ‘profuse’ apology actually means something as he continues his well-paid quest to jet around the globe testing out how fast he can make a car move.
[UPDATE: here's what happened next]