UPDATE: Jeremy Clarkson has released a video statement to this controversy via Twitpic. In it, he explains the reasoning for the videos existence, and delivers a heartfelt apology. Be sure to click over, and have a look.
Once again, Jeremy Clarkson is drawing the ire of the British tabloids, led by The Mirror, who accuse the Top Gear host of saying the "N"-word during an outtake of the show's comparison between the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ.
The Mirror's proof of the 54-year-old's allegedly racist remarks is a video, which would make it pretty incontrovertible... if there were any racist remarks being uttered. To be entirely fair, it's pretty difficult to make out just what Clarkson is saying as he repeats the children's rhyme "Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe" while picking between the two rear-drive sports cars. He mumbles for a fair bit of it, and if he does drop the N-word, we can't completely tell.
Clarkson, for his part, is vigorously denying the tabloid's allegations.
I did not use the n word. Never use it. The Mirror has gone way too far this time.- Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) May 1, 2014
He's backed up by co-host James May, as well.
Jeremy Clarkson is not a racist. He is a monumental bellend and many other things, but not a racist. I wouldn't work with one. #ThatIsAll- James May (@MrJamesMay) May 1, 2014
Playing Devil's Advocate, the children's rhyme in question did include the N-word in some variations for quite a long time. It could be explained by a bout of extreme absentmindedness, although that still doesn't change the fact that Clarkson's alleged use of the phrase is wholly unacceptable. Clarkson also could have mumbled "tiger" or "tigger," both of which are known variations in the rhyme, as well.
In the end, people will make up their own mind on what Clarkson said. From our perspective, the evidence is just too thin. This isn't a cut-and-dry case like Donald Sterling, where there are minutes and minutes of clear audio of him espousing his racist beliefs. This is far more difficult to discern.
We can't embed The Mirror's original video, although the team at Jalopnik found an embeddable copy. You can scroll down and have a look, or hop over to the tabloid's website for its copy. Whichever you choose, be sure to come back here and register your views in Comments.