JEREMY CLARKSON’S use of a racist word on his BBC Top Gear TV programme risks damaging Britain’s role in the world unless properly challenged, the chairman of Chinese for Labour has said.
Sonny Leong, speaking at the Labour Party conference, said Mr Clarkson’s use of the world “slope” to describe an Asian man breached the broadcasting code but did not fall foul of equality laws as creative decisions are given an exemption.
Mr Leong said the BBC’s ability to broadcast racist material with “impunity” does not sit well with its duty to promote equality and so it must be challenged following Top Gear incident.
He told the party conference: “Top Gear is one of the BBC’s popular programmes and attracts millions of viewers nationally and internationally.
“They have a responsibility to ensure that they do not offend any ethnic minorities and communities and that they do not promote racist stereotypes and xenophobia.
“They also have a public a duty to promote equality and to eradicate racism from the organisation.
“The ability to broadcast racist material with impunity does not sit well with the duty to promote equality and eradicate racism.
“Broadcasters have a duty, a moral duty of care to their viewers to present a programme without any racial slurs or racial stereotypes.
“Britain’s global role will be diminished, if not damaged, if we do not challenge this.”
Mr Leong was referring to a Top Gear episode filmed in Burma and Thailand and shown in March which featured a scene in which the presenters built a bridge over the River Kwai, and as an Asian man walked over it Clarkson said: “That is a proud moment, but there’s a slope on it.”
Mr Clarkson also sparked controversy earlier this year when he admitted using the n-word while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe during the filming of an episode of the BBC2 programme.
The presenter said he “did everything in my power to not use that word” then said he was “begging your forgiveness for the fact that obviously my efforts weren’t quite good enough” after the footage was brought to light by the Daily Mirror.