According to The Sunday Times, Thompson believes that Clarkson's talent outweighs his temper. "Clarkson can be a deeply objectionable individual, and I say that as a friend," Thompson said. "I don't think people should punch their colleagues. It's hard to keep them if they do. But I would say his pungent, transgressive, slightly out-of-control talent was something the BBC could ill afford to lose. He spoke to people who didn't find much else in the BBC."
Thompson, who now heads The New York Times, was not the man who had the unfortunate duty to fire Clarkson – and receive death threats for doing so. Thompson has had to deal with Clarkson's behavior before, like the time he called the former prime minister a "one-eyed idiot."
Of course, it's not all bad news for the former Top Gear host. Look for Clarkson, alongside Richard Hammond and James May, on The Grand Tour sometime this fall on Amazon. We'll see if he can behave himself in the new job.