Top Gear, and Clarkson in particular, had a reputation for going out of their way to insult other cultures. Clarkson was already on notice for racist remarks and social media posts when he punched a producer, ending his career at the BBC. So it was not a huge surprise when the team ran into trouble in Argentina while filming a 1,400-mile road trip for the show's 2014 Christmas special.
Now for the history; Argentina and England have a long running disagreement that goes all the way back to the age of empire. At various times, a small set of islands off the coast of Argentina, called the Falklands, have had French, British, Spanish, and Argentine settlements. Britain claimed for their own in 1833. In 1982, Argentina and Britain fought a short, bloody war over the islands. Britain emerged victorious and still holds the islands to this day, though Argentina still claims them.
Enter the Top Gear lads and their cars. Clarkson was driving a Porsche 928 with a license plate reading H982 FLK. Producers for the show deny up and down that the plates were not intended to cause such ire. Intentional or no, residents took the plate as a jab at the country's defeat in 1982. First, Clarkson was banned from the city where the road trip was supposed to wrap up. Then, angry Argentines threw stones at the hosts, forcing Top Gear to abandon filming and flee the country.
In April, a judge deemed the plates intentionally disrespectful and blamed the show for causing a riot. Now the case is being reopened in Argentine courts, partly at the urging of veterans from the Falklands War. Prosecutors are saying that Top Gear changed the Porsche's plates with full knowledge that such actions were illegal. The case could take years to wind its way through the court system and drag all three Top Gear presenters in front of a judge. At the end, if found guilty, Clarkson could face three years in an Argentine prison.