Season 21 of Top Gear is over, which means it’s high time we had some controversy surround the world’s most popular motoring show. The issue this time rests with the show’s last two episodes, which saw the three hosts buy second-hand “lorries” and drive from Rangoon, Myanmar to the River Kwai, in Thailand. The three hapless personalities were then tasked with building a bridge across the river.
Towards the end of the episode, after the rickety bridge was constructed, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson stand at the end admiring it. As a local man is crossing the bridge, though, Clarkson remarks that “there’s a slope on it,” ostensibly commenting on the shape and slant of the bridge. Now, for those not up to date with racist phrases, “slope” also doubles as a derogatory term for people of Asian descent. Knowing this, it certainly looks like Clarkson’s statement could have been more than just unfortunate timing.
This whole affair has left Somi Guha, an Indian-born actress, rather angry. She’s so upset by Clarkson’s use of the phrase that she’s retained a group of lawyers called Equal Justice to sue the BBC for $1.66 million, accusing the network of airing of “casual racism,” according to her written complaint to the BBC. Anglophiles or Brits will know Equal Justice as the group behind the Big Brother racism lawsuits.
“Jeremy Clarkson has made derogatory comments about Mexicans, now he bullies an Asian person. It has to stop,” Guha said in her statement.