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.
Indian-born actress Somi Guha is suing the BBC for airing "casual racism."
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 their 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 one million pounds ($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.
Clarkson, meanwhile, had some not so kind words for The Daily Mail, which published the story. We can't embed the tweets here - here's a link to his Twitter account if you'd care to read them - but Clarkson expressed his gratitude for the support, accused the Mail of not caring about the truth and explained that he couldn't be racist, because he was in a pub with someone that lives near Wales (way to dig that hole, Jezza).
You can read the full, blistering story on the suit from The Daily Mail. You can also view the scene in question from the final episode of season 21 below. What do you think? Has Clarkson and Co. made yet another misstep, or was the timing of the comment just a very, very unfortunate coincidence? Let us know in Comments.