The abuse contained the strongest expletives

The BBC has finally sacked Jeremy Clarkson, and it tells us (up to a point) what the “fracas” was. (Note, by the way, the self-serving word. People do love to do that – use the passive voice with no agent [“what happened” “what was said”] and mild words in place of accurate ones. “Fracas” – it sounds like 18th century gents quarreling over ale in Sam Johnson’s sitting room. “Fracas” is cozy for “that time I punched and shouted at and threatened someone.” The word is “assault” at the very least.) (I’m well aware that millions of people must have already said all that. I wanted to say it anyway.)

In a statement from BBC Director General Tony Hall we’ve learned exactly what took place on that night in a North Yorkshire hotel.

A report has been published with blow-by-blow details of what happened in the now infamous “fracas” between Mr Clarkson and one [of] his producers, Oisin Tymon.

This is one time (and not the only time) when the famous BBC scare quotes are well chosen.

The scene is the patio of a hotel in North Yorkshire on the evening of a long day of shooting and travel.

  • The physical attack lasted around 30 seconds and was only halted by the intervention of a witness.
  • Mr Tymon did not retaliate.
  • The verbal abuse was directed at Mr Tymon more than once – both during the attack and subsequently inside the hotel.
  • The abuse contained the strongest expletives and threats to sack him.
  • The abuse was at such volume it could be heard in the dining room and the shouting was audible in a hotel bedroom.

The “strongest epithets” – well there’s only one really. It’s that one that we’re always told is in no way denigrating of women, because it’s what men call other men. Clarkson repeatedly called Tymon a cunt.

I suspect that Jeremy Clarkson isn’t a very nice man.


  1. says

    When Clarkson uttered “Eenie, meenie, miney mo” on tape last year, the Beeb said he was on his “last chance”. They should have gotten rid of him then. One rumour I read says Clarkson’s assault on Timon was over being given a cold dinner. Childish to the end.

    I’ve never understood last chances. If someone has done enough to make others say that, then they are likely do it again, only far worse. They might want to go out in a blaze of glory.

    I worry, though, that BBC management is using (or wants to use) this to draw attention away from their actions and Jimmy Savile (i.e. firing and removing people at Panorama and other news shows). Such misdirection serves Fox Nuisance and the republicans very well. They make themselves look decisive while ignoring or covering up other issues.

  2. quixote says

    I watched Top Gear a few times ages ago (late 1990s?). Although the topics were interesting and the non-Clarkson people were okay and sometimes funny, he was such a blaring sexist it made the show unwatchable.

    I wonder how many millenia it’s going to take for the men (and women??) in control to realize that nauseating sexism is the canary in the coal mine. Sooner or later those jerks will hurt someone who matters and the higher-ups will have to deal with it.

    I wonder how many millenia will pass after that before people realize that women matter.

  3. latsot says

    You won’t be surprised to learn how terrible the comments are every time this story turns up. Lots of people are saying that Tymon should just shake hands with Clarkson and then…. go back to working with the man who attacked him for no reason. The man who wielded enormously greater power than him and repeatedly threatened to have him sacked.

    Tymon has received threats. People are threatening the man who was attacked for no reason even though he didn’t even report the incident to the BBC, let alone the police.

    Clarkson apparently phoned and texted Tymon after the incident then turned up at his home. Lots of people are criticising Tymon for not letting him (again, the man who attacked him for no reason) in.

    In short, countless people over here have LOST THEIR MINDS.

    There isn’t the slightest doubt that Clarkson will do well out of this.

  4. Maureen Brian says

    Just to confirm what latsot is saying @ 3, I greeted the news of the sacking with delight and surprise that somewhere in the UK the top brass of a large organisation had discovered it had a backbone.

    After several centuries – I know, but it feels like that – as both worker and TU Rep watching the buddyish behaviour of British management in situations like this I was almost amazed. I’ve seen bullying passed off as firm management, genuine problems not investigated but passed off as a “personality clash” and a report back from a project advising of probable fraud (and never acted upon) removed from the file once the police became involved a couple of years later plus decisions on which one to sack based on who would cost more to get rid of, etc, etc.

    Finally someone got the hang of what management is supposed to be for and what the law says! So, hurray for Tony Hall!

    But you wouldn’t believe how many people are popping up at every opportunity to say, in effect, let’s forget about that ‘cos sometimes Top Gear was funny. Sometimes it was bloody stupid, too.

  5. John Morales says

    Maureen: Tony Hall is quoted as saying:

    “For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations.”

    However, he added: “This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC. I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear.”

    The analysis in that piece seems about right to me, though:

    Jeremy Clarkson took a slightly dull and failing car programme and turned it in to the biggest factual TV show in the world.[*]

    But this sacking has nothing to do with style, opinions, popularity – or even his language on the show.

    It’s about what stars are allowed to get away with off screen, a topic that’s been top of the agenda for the BBC in recent months.

    * From the bits I’ve seen, … and then he turned it into a sort of Three Stooges with Cars.

  6. Quicksilver says

    What is even more depressing is apparently over 1 million people signed a petition to get the BBC to drop the investigation and keep him on. Even my own family are defending him. I just don’t understand it. I think I’m beginning to hate the human race 🙁

  7. latsot says

    I haven’t seen Clarkson denouncing the people threatening and otherwise badmouthing Tymon or in fact saying he’s sorry in public for what he did.

    I’m not always a huge fan of the public apology but in this case it might be useful for Clarkson to explain to his fanatical supporters that he was wrong, that Tymon wasn’t at fault and that the BBC did the right thing. Especially since Clarkson has nothing to lose now.

  8. opposablethumbs says

    Sadly, he’s probably far too popular to do anything but well out of this – but of course it’s still great that the BBC has finally had the nerve to sack him. Clarkson is a revolting specimen in many ways – the epitome of all that is revolting about so-called “lad culture”: misogynist and proud of it, racist and proud of it (see programmes shot in Mexico and in Argentina), actively anti-green and proud of it. Thinks it’s hilarious to brag about eating rare animals. I’ve never found him funny, but then as I’m not a gas-guzzler-driving, wildbird-eating, racist and sexist “lad” that’s hardly surprising.

  9. latsot says


    Yeah, I’ve no doubt that he’ll land on his feet. But as Maureen says, the good news here is that the BBC has done the right thing by standing up to the ‘talent’ after a long history of doing quite the opposite, Savile being only the most obvious example.

    Perhaps the BBC took that lesson to heart. Perhaps their culture truly changed in the meantime. A good thing has happened either way.

    That kind of culture is still far too easy to find in companies here in the UK. I don’t work in large organisations any more, partly for that reason, but small companies can be just as bad. On several occasions I’ve had to face down people who wrote core software in the early days and were thought of as indispensable, and I haven’t always won. They often seem to become enormous bullies and are allowed to dictate and re-enforce large parts of a company’s culture.

    I’ve never known this to be a good thing. It allows those people to get away with bad behaviour and managers to dismiss complaints by saying things like “oh, you know what he’s like”. It sounds like Maureen has had even more aggravating experiences along these lines than I have.

    This looks very much like what happened in Clarkson’s case, except that the apologetics have extended beyond the organisation and infected large swathes of the public, outraged at losing their privilege of watching a bully and a bigot clowning for their amusement.

  10. Numenaster says

    Jeremy Clarkson is why I had to stop watching Top Gear. I liked pretty much everything else about the show, and I think without him involved the tone between the three presenters would be much more collegial and friendly (the way I like to think coworkers should be all the time).

  11. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    Well the premise of the program is that Clarkson is a complete idiot and the other two are not too bright. He is the UK version of Bill O’Rielly only a lot less offensive and politicians do not queue up to kiss his ring like they do with Mr Loufah.

    I suspect that we will shortly hear that the show is moving to HBO or Netflix with massive raises all round. HBO already have Bill Maher who I find a lot more irritating as he poses as a liberal while being a bigot.

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