The BBC says it has suspended Jeremy Clarkson, the controversial host of the popular motoring program “Top Gear”, after he became involved in a “fracas” with a producer.
“Top Gear” is the most popular factual television program on the planet, with 350 million viewers per week in 170 countries.
“Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation,” said a statement from the broadcaster on Tuesday.
“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.”
Clarkson is already on his “final warning” following a series of controversies including his apparent use of a racist term when reciting an old nursery rhyme while filming “Top Gear” and the use of an “offensive racial term” in an episode in Myanmar.
Britain’s broadcasting watchdog regulator Ofcom said that Clarkson’s use of the word “slope”, as slang for a person of Asian origin, was potentially offensive and that the BBC had failed in its duty to viewers by broadcasting it.
The show has previously got into hot water over its depictions of Mexicans, Albanians, Romanians and Germans and the crew was forced to make a high-profile evacuation from Argentina last year in a row over the Falkland Islands.
Furious residents hurled stones at a BBC car bearing a licence plate which appeared to reference the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina.
Clarkson was among those who were forced to abandon their vehicles after an angry crowd gathered and began throwing stones but the BBC denied the registration plate was intended as a deliberate provocation.