Steve Coogan brands Top Gear presenters as 'casual racists'
Andrew Mickel7 February 2011
Steve Coogan has launched an attack on the presenters of the popular BBC programme Top Gear branding their anti-Mexican comments in a recent episode as racist.
Coogan, who is best known for his character Alan Partridge, wrote a stinging attack in The Observer newspaper branding ‘The Beeb's hand-wringing suggested tolerance of casual racism, arguably the most sinister kind’.
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, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in a recent episode of the popular programme.
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.
“The BBC's initial mealy-mouthed apology was pitiful,” Coogan said. “All the examples it uses to legitimise this hateful rubbish are relatively prosperous countries full of white people.”
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.”
“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.”
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