Generally, when you're globally known like the team at Top Gear and are getting sued for $1.66 million over claims of racism, it's in your best interest to apologize early, often and profusely. You should not, however, apologize a month after the fact, when the furor had already died down. Someone, apparently, didn't teach this lesson to TG Executive Producer Andy Wilman, who has ruffled feathers with an oddly worded apology for the incident, nearly a month after it happened.

"We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word 'slope' is considered by some to be offensive," Wilman said. Claiming ignorance strikes us as a reasonable defense – most of the Autoblog team and many of the readers that commented on our original story had never heard that particular slur. He then eviscerates his defense by saying this:

"When we used the word 'slope' in the recent Top Gear Burma Special it was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it."


Claiming ignorance that a term is racist and then admitting that you were using said term to refer to someone of a different race kind of indicates that you knew what you were up to.

Wilman then bewilderingly goes on to claim that the phrase isn't well known in the United Kingdom, and that the furor seems to be coming from the United States and Australia. This ignores the fact that a Indian-born British actress and a British law firm are the ones suing Top Gear.

All told, this seems like a pretty bad play on the part of Wilman and the TG team.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 87 Comments
      FrosenCarrotz
      • 8 Months Ago
      I'm Asian and I had no ******* clue that "slope" was even a racial slur. Hell, I didn't know a ton of racial slurs were even racial slurs until I was taught that they were racial slurs, for example "*****".
        Cayman
        • 8 Months Ago
        @FrosenCarrotz
        Did you see Christopher Walkins monologue in Pulp Fiction?
        FrosenCarrotz
        • 8 Months Ago
        @FrosenCarrotz
        Hahahaha, the racial slur for people of Chinese descent was censored while "slope" was not.
      Dimas
      • 8 Months Ago
      Anyone here a lawyer? What's the basis of the lawsuit? Indian person upset that someone said a joke in the expense of some other person whom the Indian person never met in her life?
        m_2012
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Dimas
        Why do you need a lawyer? I think you got it.
      Richard
      • 8 Months Ago
      I've learned all sorts of previously unknown "racist" insults, thanks to the efforts of the Association of Continuously Offended and Aggrieved Professionals.
      don.bishop4
      • 8 Months Ago
      One of these days the designated race baiters of ( fill in the blank ) television, radio print media, blogs and websites are going to experience a heretofore dormant intellectual epiphany and come to the stark realization that they're doing more to promote REAL racism than they ever will to combat perceived, manufactured racism. Then again, maybe not……. its probably beyond their realm of comprehension.
        Neez
        • 8 Months Ago
        @don.bishop4
        I've been thinking exactly this about NBC news. They perpetuate and exacerbate racism instead of letting it die.
      KS
      • 8 Months Ago
      Pretty light compared to the AMerican or Mexican tirades these guys go on. Anybody remember that ? Limey-pricks.
      TeeS
      • 8 Months Ago
      Who is suing? Some Indian lady from England is suing on the behave of Asians? So where does the money go? I'm Asian and i'm puzzled.
        rlog100
        • 8 Months Ago
        @TeeS
        In the UK, Asian referse to India & surrounding areas as well as what the US would consider Asian countries.
      Terry Actill
      • 8 Months Ago
      Clarkson is boring and if you find racism funny you are a prick. Some of us are evolving quicker than others.
        Lachmund
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Terry Actill
        I hate overly sensitive PC idiots like you.
        Chris
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Terry Actill
        Evolving into what? Hypersensitive tools who like to accuse everyone of being racist? As far as I'm concerned, those are the folks who cannot be trusted and are practically begging to be made fun of.
        Richard
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Terry Actill
        Except you're not. You just have too much time on your hands, so you get your shorts twisted about the slightest thing. Get a hobby.
        m_2012
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Terry Actill
        Said no person ever.
        Terry Actill
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Terry Actill
        I actually fully expected my comment to receive MANY down votes because there are a lot of douchebags on AB.
        Basil Exposition
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Terry Actill
        Looks like the majority disagrees with you Terry, sorry.
          Terry Actill
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          No problem. I can handle it. There are worse things in life than receiving down votes on Autoblog.
        Chris
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Terry Actill
        What's "racism"? Its definition is somewhat dicey these days as what's racist to one guy is something else or nothing at all to the next guy. I think the only definitions of racism we all can agree on is discrimination based on race or the use of racial slurs with malicious intent. Beyond that, it really depends who you ask.
      Pingpong Tsan
      • 7 Months Ago
      Are people just making up racial terms now? I'm from the States and I've never heard of a "slope"
        Matriarch
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Pingpong Tsan
        This is an old insult. I heard it a lot when I was a kid (I'm pretty old myself) and yes, it was commonly used to refer very derogatorily to Asians. The long version is (please, excuse my use of this term, it is strictly for purposes of example) 'slope head' and it ranks up there with other similar words that indicate that the person insulted isn't fully human because of some physical characteristic that isn't like European people with white skin.
      dadslife83
      • 8 Months Ago
      Holy crap! This guy is only 54? Thought for sure he was 1,000,006. Looks that old. Sure does have opinions of an old fart!
      hausjam
      • 8 Months Ago
      If anything, he should be apologizing for his arrogance and sanctimony.
      Aaron Smith
      • 2 Months Ago

      I think this is an example of some screwy societal issues we have.  There are so many other very real threats to your child & more important issues to spend time on rather than on "profanity." While I think racial slurs are distasteful, I think too many people in our society today are going too far with what I guess is political correctness on steroids in this case as people treat "profanity" as very dangerous & even criminal.  What happened to "freedom of speech?"

      Now, I can understand defamation of character & slander/libel but here is my thoughts on profanity:

      These words are GIVEN their power by those who overreact to them & blow it out of proportion which, including "racial slurs" where the reaction to them causes far more tension than the actual slur.

      I don't know how others were raised but when I was 6 or 7 & upset about being made fun of, my parents explained that if there is (especially kids) a particular insult that is especially hurtful to you & you let them know it how much it bothers you, they will take advantage of it every chance they get.

      The way people get overly-defensive in reaction to slurs & profanity end up giving the words more power & legitimacy rather than them just letting it roll off their shoulder.  We don't get upset when someone calls us a "poopy face" but if they say something about our race, well, all bets are off.  Sadly though, to me, it seems self-defeating & only a very insecure person gets bent out of shape over it.  Eleanor Roosevelt is attributed a quote that people should try to remember:  "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."

      So, I think this says a lot about where peoples' heads are at in our society when adults get as worked up over the same things they did when they were 10 years old:  name-calling.

      I feel the same about parents sheltering their children & overreacting to profanity" when they get really upset over it as if it were horrendously criminal. Kids will notice this reaction just like they hone in on insults they know will hurt other kids the most.

      On this issue I don't think there is anything you can do, now more than ever, to prevent kids from hearing or using profanity eventually (they are getting younger & younger & the internet plays a roll too I am sure).  However, if you're a good parent & profanity is a true concern, you need to be able to talk to them straight about it:  they are not stupid.  Doing so allows you to be proactive because at least this way, your child is learning about profanity & getting their first impression from you & not a peer or older kid they look up to.

      But if you make the words "taboo," it becomes more attractive to them.  Also, you need to set an example. "Do as I say, not as I do" is not parenting.

      Profanity, just sounds from a person's mouth, is only as damaging as people allow & as big of a deal as they make it.  Eleanor Roosevelt is attributed to a great quote:  "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." 

      Think about it.

      Jake
      • 8 Months Ago
      When are these people going to realize that is only permissible to make racial derogatory remarks and slurs about white heterosexual men, it which case it is highly encouraged and generally deemed hilarious?
    • Load More Comments