Jeremy Clarkson sacked

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Jeremy Clarkson has been sacked by the BBC.

An inquiry found that he punched Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon, causing bleeding to the lip and swelling, in addition to sustained verbal abuse.

Despite Clarkson’s attempts to apologise to Tymon in the days following the attack, he has been sacked by the broadcaster.

Tony Hall, the BBC Director-General, has released the following statement regarding Jeremy Clarkson.

“It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon,” he wrote.

“I am grateful to Ken MacQuarrie for the thorough way he has conducted an investigation of the incident on 4th March. Given the obvious and very genuine public interest in this I am publishing the findings of his report. I take no pleasure in doing so. I am only making them public so people can better understand the background. I know how popular the programme is and I also know that this decision will divide opinion. The main facts are not disputed by those involved.

“I want to make three points.

“First – The BBC is a broad church. Our strength in many ways lies in that diversity. We need distinctive and different voices but they cannot come at any price. Common to all at the BBC have to be standards of decency and respect. I cannot condone what has happened on this occasion. A member of staff – who is a completely innocent party – took himself to Accident and Emergency after a physical altercation accompanied by sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature. For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations.

“Second – This has obviously been difficult for everyone involved but in particular for Oisin. I want to make clear that no blame attaches to him for this incident. He has behaved with huge integrity throughout. As a senior producer at the BBC he will continue to have an important role within the organisation in the future.

“This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC.”

“Third – Obviously none of us wanted to find ourselves in this position. This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC. I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear. Jeremy is a huge talent. He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come.

“The BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016. This will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise. I have asked Kim Shillinglaw to look at how best we might take this forward over the coming months. I have also asked her to look at how we put out the last programmes in the current series.”

Clarkson joined Top Gear in 1988 and is one of the most recognised faces on British television. It has attracted bumper ratings and international revenue for BBC Worldwide. But Clarkson has a litany of misdemeanours and offensive controversies that put increasing pressure on the BBC to pull him into line.

It is now unclear how Clarkson’s dismissal will impact on the show’s future, including an upcoming Top Gear Live event in Sydney in April, and whether James May and Richard Hammond will want to continue with the programme.

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“The verbal abuse was sustained over a longer period, both at the time of the physical attack and subsequently.”

Investigation findings – Ken MacQuarrie

On 9 March 2015, Jeremy Clarkson reported to BBC management that he had been involved in a physical and verbal incident with Oisin Tymon, the producer of Top Gear, at the Simonstone Hall Hotel, North Yorkshire, whilst working on location. The incident had occurred on 4 March 2015 and Jeremy Clarkson was suspended on 10 March, pending investigation.

I was asked to undertake an investigation to establish the facts of what occurred. In conducting my investigation, in line with the BBC’s usual practice, I interviewed a number of witnesses and others connected with the incident. Accounts were agreed, based on my interviews, with each participant.

Having conducted these interviews and considered the evidence presented, I conclude the following: on 4 March 2015 Oisin Tymon was subject to an unprovoked physical and verbal attack by Jeremy Clarkson. During the physical attack Oisin Tymon was struck, resulting in swelling and bleeding to his lip. The verbal abuse was sustained over a longer period, both at the time of the physical attack and subsequently.

Specific facts I have found as part of my investigation are as follows:

 earlier on 4 March, studio recording of Top Gear had taken place in Surrey and the presenters had travelled that same evening to the location shoot in North Yorkshire;

 the incident occurred on a patio area of the Simonstone Hall Hotel, where Oisin Tymon was working on location for Top Gear;

 the physical attack lasted around 30 seconds and was halted by the intervention of a witness;

 it is the case that Oisin Tymon offered no retaliation;

 the verbal abuse was directed at Oisin Tymon on more than one occasion – both during the attack and subsequently inside the hotel – and contained the strongest expletives and threats to sack him. The abuse was at such volume as to be heard in the dining room, and the shouting was audible in a hotel bedroom;

 derogatory and abusive language, relating to Oisin Tymon and other members of the Top Gear team, continued to be used by Jeremy Clarkson inside the hotel, in the presence of others, for a sustained period of time;

 it is clear that Oisin Tymon was shocked and distressed by the incident, and believed that he had lost his job;

 following the attack, I understand that Oisin Tymon drove to a nearby A&E department for examination;

 over the subsequent days, Jeremy Clarkson made a number of attempts to apologise to Oisin Tymon by way of text, email and in person; and

 it is the case that Jeremy Clarkson reported the incident to BBC management.

It was not disputed by Jeremy Clarkson or any witness that Oisin Tymon was the victim of an unprovoked physical and verbal attack. It is also clear to me that Oisin Tymon is an important creative member of the Top Gear team who is well-valued and respected. He has suffered significant personal distress as a result of this incident, through no fault of his own.

28 Comments:

  1. Let us all spare a thought for all the people in the production crew whose mortgages et al were dependent on this series. If you act badly in a production and you’re a key figure, you affect far more than just one. The hosts here can afford this loss despite it being hard for them in other ways. I hope the crew is able to move on ok.

  2. if they have any brains they will end the show now. there is no one who can replace Clarkson let alone all three cast members, the Australian version bombed.

  3. bettestreep2008

    So Top Gear fans believe racism, misogyny, homophobia and now workplace bullying and violence are perfectly OK.

    And why are they all shedding a tear for three grown men who are multi-millionaires?

    The facts are clear. Clarkson had been given prior warnings and chose to ignore them at his own peril.

    Such a shame that he wasn’t sacked. His contract wasn’t renewed that is all.

    And if May and Hammond want to blame Tymon for making such a big fuss – well they are just as bad as Clarkson.

    Tymon – Sue Clarkson for damages and sue him until he realises what he did was wrong.

    • jezza the first original one

      @bettestreep2008 Read the article which contain facts, ie Clarkson knew immediately that he had done wrong, he reported himself to his tv bosses, did not contest the facts. He also made many attempts to apologise etc.. I am surprised that a comment vilifying all Top Gear fans has been published on this site, I am a huge fan of the show and JCs presenting style. I am sad that the show will now effectively be over…but that is all. So just because I feel this way does not mean I believe in any of the things you state. I am sure many others feel a similar way

      • Given some TG fans have since trolled the producer and are thus reinforcing abuse, this comment has some context. But perhaps it should have been worded “Some Top Gear fans believe….” As you note, not everyone agrees with his conduct.

        • bettestreep2008

          My apologies. I visited one of the ‘Bring back Jeremy’ FB pages that have been set up and was angry with some of the comments I read.

          You are right – I should have wrote ‘Some’ TG fans.

          Good news for all of us who don’t condone workplace bullying or violence – the British police may charge Clarkson with assault.

          The victim did have to go to hospital to get treatment after all.

  4. Anyone who punches someone else in the face, is a creep, whether it’s at work, in the home, or out on the town. And it doesn’t matter if they’re tired, overworked, or stressed. What good excuse is there really? So not okay! The right decision has been made.

  5. I’m in no way standing up for him and obviously violence in the work place is a No-Go… But i do think it’s interesting that he repeatedly tried to apologise and then that he was the one who told the bosses.
    I’m not buying the whole persona of him being such a shitty bloke.

    • It’s the classic behaviour of a bully – yes he knew he had done wrong but his reporting of himself was all about his own interests and trying to protect himself, not the victim. We don’t know the circumstances of the attempted apologies but I suspect if you’d physically been attacked by someone without provocation you’d be reluctant to accept any apology too.

      The real notable thing is that he hasn’t issued a formal apology since his dismissal, while May and Hammond haven’t spared a thought for the victim either.

  6. Odd that, having done so many ‘little’ things over time to earn the BBC’s ire, the thing that finally brought Clarkson unstuck seems to be a very clear case of unacceptable behaviour.

  7. End of top gear , there is no way , top gear will recover from this , James May and Richard Hammond will mostly likely leave aswell , and will be over for sure, even through they will find a new host they rating are going slide like ther is no tommorrow,

    RIP Top Gear UK

  8. Anyone else would have had to deal with the police, i am so sick of people believing in their own PR.
    It is not the first time he has hit someone and then used his newspaper column, to justify it. Seems to me he was given to many chances.

  9. I know it’s a small point but he wasn’t sacked or dismissed. His contract wasn’t renewed. I think they should have sacked him even if he only had weeks to go. I only point this out because usually the standard of reporting on this blog is extremely high, certainly higher than the mainstream press and it seems odd that the quotes have the facts but the headline and the story dispute them.

  10. Top Gear is over then, last time Clarkson left the original show in 1988 it ended a year later, until it was revived in its original format some 13 years ago. Even if the show returns I’d doubt the other guys will be part of it.

    Not condoning Clarkson’s actions but the BBC put them selves into this corner with the who last warning thin months ago. I do wonder if they were already in talks with others in case something like this happened?

    • The last warning was a beat up, leaked footage of all things.

      Yes, he did say the “n” word but he is of an age (like me) where that is the way we were taught, I did not even know what it meant till my late teens.

      It wasn’t aired, it was not malicious but he still got in trouble.

      Wonder which producer leaked it????

    • Clarkson left in 2001, not 1988. It remained BBC2’s top rating show after his departure and only got axed due to internal BBC politics which saw it’s Birmingham base closed. It was revived in the current format within a year.

      Although it could go either way often in television the irreplaceable do turn out to be replaceable if needs be and the show is often bigger than the star. It won’t be easy and I suspect they probably won’t get the relaunch right at the first attempt but there is no reason why the show can’t go on – whether it’s with one or three new presenters.

  11. “Unprovoked” = unlikely
    “Overreaction” = likely
    Despite claims to the contrary, there is quite clearly more to this. In any event, we know who the ultimate loser is.

    • You’ve obviously never worked in TV. Imagine being in your workplace, where a senior level partner or some such person (who is not actually your boss), yells at you, punches you and then tells you you’re fired, because they don’t like the food at a lunch that you didn’t organise.

      There a partner so you can’t respond, and they are technically senior to you so you think they can fire you, and they’re way more important to the company than you so you think you’re done.

      Sound provoked now? There are multiple witnesses and this happens daily in tv around the world. The only difference here is the punching.

    • Secret Squïrrel

      Thanks for clearing that up, Bazza. I hadn’t realised that you were there. I suppose that Tymon was at fault for not being able to get the hotel manager to open up his kitchen after the chef had left for the night?

      Clarkson was advised that the team needed to return to the hotel by a particular time if they wanted to be able to order dinner but chose to spend around an hour drinking in a pub. For him to then verbally abuse a member of his team for around 30 minutes and physically assault him because the best that he could do was arrange for the hotel manager to prepare a selection of cold meats and cheese is beyond the pale.

      I’m a big fan of Clarkson’s TV persona but I can’t excuse this behaviour.

  12. jezza the first original one

    The non renewal of his contract was inevitable, he knew he had stuffed up and at least we now have the facts as opposed to speculation. Gotta hope Oisin bounces back, that JC learns from this and that the BBC manage their top talent a bit better in future. It is a sad end to this great show, I know the BBC want to rejuvenate it, but somehow I don’t think it will work. The only person that would crank things up a notch would be his long time rival and possible enemy….Piers Morgan

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