'Top Gear' host Jeremy Clarkson suspended by BBC after 'fracas' with producer

Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:03pm EDT
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By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) - Jeremy Clarkson, the outspoken British presenter of the "Top Gear" motoring show, has been suspended by the BBC after he was involved in a "fracas" with a producer.

Clarkson, who has generated both controversy and profits for Britain's publicly funded broadcaster, was already on a final warning over accusations last year that he had used racist language while filming the show.

"Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation," the broadcaster said in a statement on Tuesday. "No one else has been suspended."

The BBC said Top Gear, which is aired in more than 200 countries, would not be broadcast on Sunday.

A friend of Prime Minister David Cameron, Clarkson became the popular face of Top Gear by mixing a passion for cars with blunt banter and swagger that offended, among others, environmental groups, mental health charities and cyclists.

Clarkson was called before BBC bosses last year after a British newspaper reported he had been heard using the word "nigger" as he recited an old version of the rhyme "Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe" to choose between cars in filming two years earlier.

The 54-year old presenter later apologized for any offence caused by the reports about the use of the word.

He wrote in his Sun newspaper column in May that he had been told by the BBC that if he made "one more offensive remark, anywhere at any time, I will be sacked".   Continued...

BBC automobile program "Top Gear" presenter Jeremy Clarkson speaks with a member of his crew while filming a segment outside 10 Downing Street in London November 29, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett