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Jeremy Clarkson ‘Special Needs’ Ferrari Joke Sparks Anger

August 3, 2010

I first heard of Jeremy Clarkson in early 2009 when he was caught on record by Australian journalists calling Gordon Brown, the then British Prime Minister, a ‘one eyed Scottish idiot’ because he is partially sighted. I didn’t like him then, and I like him even less today, because of this:

Jeremy Clarkson’s has angered disability charities and carers by describing a car as “special needs” on BBC2’s Top Gear show.

The TV presenter was comparing two Ferrari cars when he said the older one looked like a “simpleton”.

He then added the car, called 430 Speciale, should be the “430 Speciale… needs” in Sunday’s show.

His comments angered Suzi Browne at the National Autistic Society.

She said: “To use terms such as special needs in a derogatory or flippant manner only perpetuates the prejudice and bullying which people with disabilities have to cope with.”

She added 40% of autism sufferers were bullied at school.

Mum Mo Gilbert, from Crawley, West Sussex, whose son, 17, has autism and asperger’s syndrome, said: “It’s a disgusting thing to say. It’s no joke having a disability.” The BBC declined to comment.

Last time, Clarkson apologised for his disablist comment, and the BBC took no further action. I wonder why they haven’t commented yet this time. I wonder if they’ll bother to comment at all. I wonder if Clarkson will bother to apologise this time. However, as I said last year, apologising for disablism doesn’t change the pain it causes to disabled people. It doesn’t change the fact that disablist comments are wrong.

Even if, for a minute, we accept that Clarkson’s comments about Gordon Brown were unintentional, no one should make the same mistake twice. If a person does the same thing wrong more than once, it should not be called a mistake.

Clarkson has proved to the public at least twice that he is disablist. Personally, I don’t think the BBC should be allowing a disablist person to work for it in such a high profile position. That’s why I’ve started this Facebook group calling for him to be sacked. Please join it if you agree.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. melspooner permalink
    August 3, 2010 10:53 am

    If those had been racist comments he’d have lost his job. Once again a prime example of one minority group being treated with so much more respect and dignity than another.

    In my opinion its not OK for him to say sorry, certainly not for a second time. He should be made an example of.

  2. Lateralthinker permalink
    August 3, 2010 12:35 pm

    Clarkson throws derogatory comments hither and thither at will,I am not sure whether he is a Disabilist,he may infact be unknowingly Disabled as he seems to have a serious mental malfunction.I am sure if Clarkson was to have dealings with the DWP and or Atos Healthcare he would make remarks about these agency’s which were derogatory in the extreme. My personnal feeling is that if I let a buffoons comments annoy me I would be a lesser person,however it may help Clarkson if he ponders how close his partner came to spending the rest of his life driving a “special needs car” There but for the grace of God.
    I do feel sad for Clarkson who is in a position where he could alter public opinion for the better with regard to the Disabled,but that is for his conscience.

    • kinelfire permalink
      August 3, 2010 2:18 pm

      Lateralthinker – suggesting that Clarkson’s continued offensiveness is somehow caused by a mental illness? Really??

      It’s quite clear that he is simply full of unexamined white, male, cis, TAB priviledge and does not understand why people who aren’t like him aren’t like him. It is unlikely that he will ever consider ‘there but for the grace of god’ because, until he himself goes through something that forces him to see the other side, he will not bother with the effort.

      I do wish that the Beeb would sack him; his various offences are much worse than Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross to my mind, but Clarkson it far too popular with the right-wingers who reckon he should be Prime Minister – the very same who bayed for the blood of Brand and Ross.

  3. Paul permalink
    August 4, 2010 11:42 am

    The question has to be asked why didn’t the BBC edit this out of the programme as Top Gear is filmed on Wednesday for the following Sunday.

  4. samedifference1 permalink*
    August 4, 2010 12:03 pm

    Thanks Paul for making this very good point.

  5. timtim permalink
    August 18, 2010 9:47 pm

    Clarkson makes fun of everyyoneee. No, it doesn’t make it alright, but if every group that he offended got in a tizzy than there would be no more top gear. I like top gear to much. I’ll just handle the America bashing.

  6. Alex permalink
    September 5, 2010 7:56 am

    come on,people!!! he’s only trying to put some humour in the review… sure, a lot of people own the 430 but the 458 IS better than its predecessor… so,what he said isn’t wrong although a little hurtful…

  7. Bryn Jones permalink
    April 23, 2011 1:58 pm

    woot woot!


  1. Mental Disorders 101
  2. Facebook group urges sacking of "disablist" Jeremy Clarkson | Outside LeftOutside Left
  3. Why Same Difference Hopes The BBC Will Sack Jeremy Clarkson Today | Same Difference

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