Why the BBC Should Not Tolerate Jeremy Clarkson

milica_BBC_WHYSDebating whether BBC should sack one of its top TV presenters Jeremy Clarkson over his racist remarks, MDI Executive Director Milica Pesic said: “It is not about Clarkson, it is about BBC. I don’t know what Clarkson thinks, but I know what he said. He is the public figure and what he says off the record matters just as what he is saying on air”.

Pesic appeared on BBC World Have Your Say programme on Friday highlighting that ‘the BBC should have zero tolerance towards racist or discriminatory language or behaviour’.

BBC came under pressure to sack Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson after he begged viewers’ forgiveness after he appeared to use the N-word during filming of his BBC programme Top Gear. As the Guardian reports, he said that he had tried to obscure the word when reciting the ‘eeny, meeny, miny, moe’ nursery rhyme to choose between two cars, but that his efforts to do so “weren’t quite good enough”.

“We at the Media Diversity Institute always use BBC as an example when we are promoting diversity and inclusive journalism at our workshops and training all over the world. And BBC needs to set an example by not tolerating anyone who uses a racist word”, said Pesic at the BBC programme.

She has asked if the producers of the programme seek the opinion of the black people community. “Did we ask how they feel and how they see Clarkson’s behaviour and what do they think how the BBC should react”, said MDI Executive Director.

After the comments of some BBC listeners that ‘Clarkson was only joking’ and that BBC sacking him would be an overreaction, Pesic said that many jokes are often based on negative stereotypes and that media need to be careful and responsible when using that argument.

She also reminded the BBC audience that this is not the first time Jeremy Clarkson sparks controversy. There have been several cases when Top Gear presenter offended different nations or women and others.