IRISH community leaders have called for the BBC to report Jeremy Clarkson to the police if allegations of his anti-Irish abuse towards a Top Gear producer are found to be correct.
The 54-year-old Top Gear frontman was suspended last week after becoming involved in an alleged altercation with Irishman Oisin Tymon, a producer on the show for the last seven years.
An internal BBC investigation into the incident kicked off today, where Mr Clarkson is expected to explain the events which took place at the team’s hotel while shooting an episode of the hit car show in Hawes, North Yorkshire.
There, it is alleged, the presenter, who is believed to have personally reported the incident to his BBC superiors, called Mr Tymon a “lazy Irish c***” before punching him and splitting his lip.
The 36-year-old producer, who has previously worked on The One Show, is believed to have visited A&E after the incident but has yet to press any formal charges against Mr Clarkson.
In a statement made on Tuesday, March 10, the BBC confirmed an incident had occurred, claiming: “Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation.”
It added: “No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.”
As the BBC set about investigating the ‘fracas’ this week, Jim Curran, of the Irish Civil Rights Association, hand-delivered a letter to BBC Television Director Danny Cohen calling for the presenter to be reported to the police if the incident proves “racially motivated”.
“I am writing about the alleged allegation that Jeremy Clarkson, in a racially motivated attack, assaulted producer Oisin Tymon,” he says.
“I am writing to request that if the allegation is correct that the BBC will report this matter for investigation by the police and not protect Mr Clarkson. This association believes that all anti-Irish racist attacks should be deplored and reported to police.”
Elsewhere Jennie McShannon, Chief Executive of the national Irish in Britain organisation, told The Irish Post: “It’s hard to comment until we know for certain what he [Jeremy Clarkson] said, but unfortunately it would seem plausible that he did include derogatory comments about the producer’s background, in much the same way as he has about many others from around the world.”
She added: “He seems to retain this strand of British humour stuck in the days of empire, blithely unwilling to recognise the prejudicial nature of his comments, which as a popular entertainer condones casual racism.
“Unchecked and supported by the establishment it would of course give permission for that sort of outdated humour to be seen as acceptable, impacting on the reputation of Irish people and others who have great skills and hardworking attitudes to contribute.”
While yesterday’s episode of Top Gear did not air, the BBC has yet to confirm if the remainder of the current series of the hugely popular show - which regularly attracts five million viewers or more - will go ahead as planned.
However Ofcom have received more than 100 complaints regarding the pulling of the show, which was replaced with a documentary on the Red Arrows, which attracted an audience of just 1.3million, last night.
Since news of the fracas broke last week more than 900,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Jeremy Clarkson to be reinstated.