You could easily be forgiven for thinking that it was a dress-rehearsal for the annual April 1st silly-story fest.
From the very first suggestions of an ‘incident’, through to the feeding-frenzy of yesterday, print, broadcast and social media channels alike have been obsessively pursuing, and in many cases (to use an appropriate catering term) ‘garnishing’ the latest debacle to embroil BBC presenter Jeremy Clarkson. But alas, whilst there is the obvious absence of a joke, there appears to be a growing number of fools who have collaborated to expose potentially more failings at an organisation already crippled by a legacy of being far, far removed from the rest of the real world.
As far as I can see, there ought to have been no story at all, at least until a swift BBC investigation had been concluded. Here’s the statement that the Corporation issued earlier:
Getting to the point, If JC did throw a punch at a fellow BBC employee / contractor, then it’s likely that his contract would be terminated (for gross misconduct). Violent behaviour can never be tolerated, even if the ‘punch’ missed. And that should be that. Cancelling an episode of Top Gear before the guilty verdict is announced is regrettably more proof of the BBC reacting hysterically to a situation that, as with the substance to their press release, currently doesn’t exist.
As we’ve witnessed repeatedly over recent months, the BBC is by far its own worst enemy in a crisis. Here, perversely, by taking Top Gear and Clarkson off the air, they are simply serving to feed global demand (and value) for a man whose brand has photosynthetically evolved out crass self-serving bigotry. But then let’s be honest, ever since (Executive Producer) Andy Wilman and Clarkson teamed-up to reinvent the Top Gear that so many of us around the world now love, the BBC doesn’t appear to have complained about the many £millions that the franchise has delivered.
It doesn’t matter whether you love or loathe Clarkson, he has been a major asset to the BBC over many years. I’m not suggesting this means he should be dealt with leniently if found guilty of wrong-doing, simply that he and everyone else at Top Gear (including Oisin Tymon) deserve the respect that should require internal matters to be dealt with internally, until such a time that it is right and necessary to bring the issue into the public domain.
We know that Clarkson is an oaf, so being accused or even found guilty of throwing a punch, for whatever reason, isn’t going to hurt him. But having yet another public humiliation to address might have a far more serious impact on Auntie Beeb and the folk at Broadcasting House.