BBC's 'Top Gear' Issues Racist Apology for Racist Slur

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The British communications regulator Ofcom has ruled that a pre-scripted bit on the popular BBC TV show Top Gear was racist. While we're at it, the executive producer's apology wasn't so thoughtful either.

Top Gear, one of the most popular television shows in the world, showcases a variety of motor vehicles, and pretty much anything else that goes fast. The sometimes controversial show is presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

During a special episode, which was filmed in Burma and aired in March, the show's hosts were standing on the River Kwai when...well...see for yourself:

The moment was subtle, but it did garner complaints. Following the incident, the show's producers and hosts apologized. Here was part of the executive producer's statement:

"When we used the word ‘slope’ in the recent Top Gear Burma Special it was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it.

The producer added that "that the word ‘slope’ is considered by some to be offensive and although it might not be widely recognized in the UK," people elsewhere think it's racist. The show has been in trouble before for off-color comments. In 2011, the cast joked that Mexicans were "feckless [and] flatulent."

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On Monday, Ofcam ruled that they shouldn't have said that. From the BBC:

After a thorough investigation, Ofcom has found the BBC breached broadcasting rules by including an offensive racial term in Top Gear, which was not justified by context."

On Twitter, reactions were mixed:

Allow this retort to ruin a casual grammarian's day: 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.