Jokes about illegal immigrants entering the U.K. were not well received

Fast cars, witty banter, and a never-ending barrage of controversy. If there are three things that came to define the Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond era of Top Gear, it’s those three things. But now that the trio have moved on from the BBC to Amazon and The Grand Tour, that three-pronged formula is still apparently in full effect. We’ve already seen the fast cars and the witty banter among the three hosts. All we were waiting for was the first slice of controversy to strike the record-breaking show, and as if on cue, it has arrived. The Grand Tour has officially come under fire, taking only four episodes to do it.

To no one’s surprise, Clarkson finds himself at the heart of the controversy for showing how to smuggle migrants into the United Kingdom. The whole schtick revolved around successfully hiding Hammond behind the rear bumper of an Audi TT, an audacious, yet surprisingly possible revelation that caught the crowd in Whitby, England in a state of genuine surprise and confusion.

Clarkson navigated around the segment by adding some colorful commentary. “When immigrants try to get into the country they always come in the back of a container lorry and that is the world’s worst game of hide and seek,” he said. “If you work for Border Force you open the doors and go, ’well there you are.’ Surely, there must be a better way of getting into Britain. And I think I’ve worked it out.”

Needless to say, Clarkson’s comments were picked up various media outlets and it didn’t take long for people to call out Jezza for the supposedly insensitive comments. Speaking to the Daily Star, Barbara Drozdowicz from the East European Resource Center to blast the entire segment, saying that the organization was “appalled by the portrayal of migrants as an illegal cargo.”It didn’t take long before others joined in on the chorus of criticism, including a spokeswoman for the U.K.’s Road Haulage Association, who said that “how-to” segment of smuggling immigrants into the country was “irresponsible.”

For their part, neither Amazon nor the producers of The Grand Tour have yet to comment on controversy. If anything, it wouldn’t be surprising if they brush off the incident, knowing full well that controversies like this one, whether they’re legitimate or not, is part of the reason why the old era of Top Gear was so successful.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

The Grand Tour is definitely in full swing now

Is it surprising to see Jeremy Clarkson involved in another controversy? Heck no. What’s surprising is that knowing his off-the-cuff reputation for having no filter to his words, it took four episodes for the first controversy to come out.

I’m pretty sure Amazon knew what it was getting when it brought Clarkson, May, and Hammond on board. Clarkson, in particular, has been a lightning rod of controversy for years now, and if anybody thinks that he’s going to slow down now that he’s on a streaming platform with Amazon, these people are sorely mistaken.

Like I said, his rhetoric, and that of May and Hammond to a certain extent, is admittedly controversial sometimes. But it’s also part of why the old Top Gear was so successful. Imagine being a show that runs for a few months a year and yet remain in the headlines the entire year because the hosts say something that offends a group of people. That’s publicity that no amount of marketing can buy.

All that being said, I do agree with Drozdowicz that the whole segment was done in poor taste, even if it was unintentional. I don’t mean to bring up heartbreaking world events into this, but I have to in this instance.

What’s happening in Aleppo, Syria now is a travesty of the highest order and all the innocent lives that are being killed off because they have no other place to go is devastating to say the least. I just think that the timing of that segment was bad given what’s going on over there in Aleppo.

I don’t expect any apologies though, because I’m not looking for one. Any fan of of the old Top Gear knows that while Clarkson can push the boundaries of decency from time to time, he’s not averse to what’s going on outside of that Grand Tour tent. Let’s just hope that he and producers exercise a little more caution next time.

Source: Daily Star

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