He really wouldn’t be Jeremy Clarkson if he wasn’t going around offending groups left and right, would he? Jeremy’s knack for upsetting people seems to be a major part of his appeal, whether he intends to offend or not, and with the first season of The Grand Tour behind us, we are left with more than enough moments to cause some hand wringing.
We have compiled a list of the times Jeremy (and others!) have upset groups around the globe. As an added bonus, we also included some situations that we thought would have serious backlash, but ended up not making a peep in the media. People sure are a fickle bunch, aren’t we?
Episode 1 – Gypsies and The Traveller Movement
Any of us who were worried that The Grand Tour would not live up to Top Gear’s level had nothing to fear in the first episode, as Jeremy immediately upsets a group in the opening sequence. That has to be some sort of record, yes? Either way, Jeremy kicked off the premiere by offending gypsies and The Traveller Movement when he said “We’re going to be roaming the world…we’re going to be like gypsies – only the cars we drive are going to be insured.”
The Traveller Movement then stated that the joke was racist: “I notice that almost the first thing they did was make racist jokes about Gypsies not having their vans insured…” Off to a smashing start!
Episode 3 – Romanian Slave Labor
Nothing like some forced human labor to get the juices flowing, eh? Of course that’s not what rreally happened, but that didn’t stop stop a storm of fury from being unleashed at TGT. In this bit, Jeremy unveils a driveless car, which he then showed was powered by a Romanian man pedaling underneath. “British engineering ladies and gentlemen – with Romanian parts,” said Jeremy of his invention.
A Global Justice Now spokesman followed up the episode by saying “It sounds tasteless, the sort of thing Jeremy Clarkson is all about.”
Episode 4 – Smuggling Tips And Meat Car
Honestly I don’t know who made a bigger row in episode 4; PETA over Jeremy’s meat-mobile, or the Road Haulage Association over Jeremy’s helpful tips on how to hide people in hard to find places in a car. The PETA outcry should be quite obvious, with a spokesperson stating “While this pompous arse is always desperately vying for attention by trying to offend others, less privileged beings raised for their skin and flesh are suffering in barren industrial sheds.”
The Road Haulage Association did not find any humor in Jeremy’s stunt, which involved hiding Hammond, hog tied and all, behind the rear valance of an Audi. Kate Gibbs of the Association stated “We are appalled by the portrayal of migrants as an illegal cargo.”
Episode 5 – More Animal Cruelty And Rolf Harris
Episode 5 gave us another two-fer; animal rights activists were upset again at Jeremy “killing” cows to use as a counterweight, and Hammond cracking a joke regarding Rolf Harris. A Green Party spokesperson had this to say about Jeremy’s cows: “This apparent senseless slaughter of animals on our TV screens is unacceptable. Animals are not television props and Clarkson and his team should apologise for this needless stunt.”
As far as the Rolf Harris comments, the National Association For People Abused In Childhood says “It sounds inappropriate. I think anybody who makes light of the rape and abuse of children have got issues themselves.” Now granted, this wasn’t as hardcore of a backlash as, say, something PETA would say, but while the joke was somewhat tasteless, I’m pretty certain Hammond was not making light of rape and abuse victims.
Episode 6 – Hammond Doesn’t Like Ice Cream
And the winner for season one is not something Jeremy said at all, but rather Richard Hammond! I don’t think we need to revisit the ice cream comment in too much detail; we beat that horse to death months ago. But man, remember how big a deal that was? For a while everyone was like “Hammond thinks ice cream is only for gays! Hammond hates gays! Hammond hates ice cream!”
And then it turned out that the joke was a play on an ice cream commercial and really had nothing to do with any of the stuff people were upset over. And right there, I have described what essentially happens online everyday.
Perhaps what even more shocking than the examples above are the situations that WEREN’T met with backlash. There have been more than a few occasions during the season where I thought to myself “Oh bot, social media is going to fun tomorrow!” after I saw a certain scene, but interestingly enough, nothing of the sort transpired. Here’s is a list of “Honorable Mention” offenses that never ended up offending anyone:
The American – Redneck hillbilly stereotype that was not in the least bit likeable. I would have thought people would be screaming “Not all Americans are like that!!!”
Dutch euthanasia – For as touchy a subject as euthanasia is, I am actually shocked no one said anything about the comment made on the show.
Exploding animals in Ep. 12 – PETA was strangely silent over the exploding animals that dotted the Lexus GS F track test. Maybe they finally realized that A) no animals were actually blown up and it was all fake, and B) that the show is seemingly intentionally trying to get a rise out of the organization.
Brexit mentions – I don’t actually recall the exact episode(s), but Brexit was name dropped a few times and no one lost their minds!
Celebrity Brain Crash deaths – It’s interesting how no one believes the celebrity deaths were real, yet way too many believed Jeremy actually killed and skinned cows in the Moroccan episode. Hmmm….
Stuttgart politician – Is it possible to “pre-offend” someone? That seems to be the case as a Stuttgart politician lobbied for TGT to not set up their tent in the city and said that they were not welcome there.
Thai massage – Sure there were complaints, but for a segment where Jeremy essentially sit on a Thai masseuse, I honestly would have expected more.