Steve Coogan blasts Top Gear's Mexican show as 'casual racism'
Comedian Steve Coogan has ripped into the presenters of the BBC’s Top Gear programme accusing Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May of casual racism after their comment about Mexico on a recent episode of the programme prompted an official diplomatic complaint.
Writing in The Observer Coogan branded both the presenters and the BBC as hiding behind ethnicity to hide the casual racisim which had crept into the programme.
“The Beeb's hand-wringing suggested tolerance of casual racism, arguably the most sinister kind,” Coogan said. “The BBC's initial mealy-mouthed apology was pitiful.
“All the examples it uses to legitimise this hateful rubbish are relatively prosperous countries full of white people.”
Coogan was writing after the Mexican ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza wrote an official letter of complaint to the BBC over the conduct of presenters James May and Richard Hammond.
In the episode, which was aired last Sunday, Hammond insinuated that the Mexican national stereotype was very much like its cars, ‘lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus, with a blanket with a hole in the middle as a coat’.
Co-presenter James May also commented on Mexican cuisine, saying that ‘it's all like sick with cheese on it’.
Though the BBC has apologised for the remarks Coogan did not let the corporation off the hook for airing the programme.
“It would be fine if it was confined to a bunch of grumpy men in bad jeans smoking Marlboros at the side of the Millbrook test track, but it's not. As I pointed out, it's the voice of one of the BBC's most successful programmes,” Coogan said.
Admitting that he is a fan of the programme under normal circumstances, Coogan launched a personal attack on the three Top Gear presenters in an attempt to ‘make them question their behaviour’.
Accusing their attempts at humour as ‘more tragic than comic’ Coogan said: “Richard has his tongue so far down the back of Jeremy's trousers he could forge a career as the back end of a pantomime horse. His attempt to foster some Clarkson-like maverick status with his "edgy" humour is truly tragic.”
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