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

Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:24am EDT
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(Note: contains graphic, racist language in sixth paragraph)

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.   Continued...

Television presenter Jeremy Clarkson leaves an address in London, March 11, 2015.  Britain's BBC said on Tuesday it had suspended Jeremy Clarkson, the presenter of the globally popular 'Top Gear' show, after he was involved in a fracas with one of the broadcaster's producers. REUTERS Peter Nicholls