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Top Gear presenters, James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson collect the Most Popular Factual Programme award at the 2011 National Television Awards at the O2 Arena, London. Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Top Gear

BBC apologises over Top Gear 'lazy Mexcian' quip

The BBC has apologised to the Mexican ambassador to London over comments made during a Top Gear episode.

THE BBC HAS apologised for comments made during its Top Gear programme, during which presenters made remarks that characterised Mexicans as lazy and feckless.

The team’s comments were made when they were discussing a Mexican sports car; Richard Hammond said: “Mexican cars are just going to be lazy”.

He persevered with the analogy, saying: “Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.”

The team then described Mexican cuisine as “refried sick”.

Thousands of Mexicans complained to the BBC about the remarks, reports the Associated Press, and the Mexican ambassador also demanded an apology – calling the comments “offensive, xenophobic and humiliating”. The matter was also brought up in the Mexican parliament.

The BBC wrote to Mexico’s ambassador in London to apologise for the incident, saying that the comments were “rude” and “mischievous,” but there was no “vindictiveness” behind them – saying that it was British humour to poke fun at national stereotypes.

In a statement, the BBC admitted that the comments “may appear offensive to those who have not watched the programme or who are unfamiliar with its humour”, adding:

“Our own comedians make jokes about the British being terrible cooks and terrible romantics, and we in turn make jokes about the Italians being disorganised and over dramatic, the French being arrogant and the Germans being over-organised”.

Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that the show has found itself in hot water as a result of a presenter’s remarks; in 2008 Jeremy Clarkson created controversy when he joked about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.

Last week, the British National TV Awards named Top Gear the most popular factual show.

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