BBC Apologises For Jeremy Clarkson’s Ferrari ‘Special Needs’ Joke

Clarkson Ferrari Special Needs JokeUK broadcasting watchdog Ofcom were called in to investigate a joke, make by Jeremy Clarkson on an episode of Top Gear that went on to provoke complaints from viewers.

During the Top Gear segment, Clarkson made a comment about co-host James May’s Ferrari and its styling. Comparing May’s Ferrari F430 Speciale to a newer model, Clarkson said the car  “was a bit wrong – that smiling front end – it looked like a simpleton – should have been called the 430 Speciale Needs”.

Following  criticism from the National Autistic Society saying it perpetuated ”the prejudice and bullying which people with disabilities have to cope with”, the BBC removed the clip from the repeat and iPlayer versions of the show, and went on to issue an apology for any offence caused.

The BBC said the remark was not intended to make light of those with special educational needs or to make fun at their expense.

Following an investigation by Ofcom, the industry watchdog today recognised that ”discriminatory language of this nature has the potential to be very offensive to some viewers as it could be seen to single out certain sections of society in a derogatory way because of their disability.”

It added: ”The comments made by Jeremy Clarkson in this instance were capable of causing offence.”

It said: ”While obviously intended as a joke and not aimed directly at an individual with learning difficulties, the comment could easily be understood as ridiculing people in society with a particular physical disability or learning difficulty.”

It concluded that because the BBC had apologised, decided not to repeat the comment, and said it was not intended to make fun of those with special needs, the case was resolved.

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