I’m a little shocked that the BBC has now actually issued a formal apology to the Mexican Ambassador to the UK for the comments made on Top Gear UK this past weekend. They rarely apologize for Top Gear’s antics. This is not the first time they’ve offended someone and it certainly won’t be the last.
Here’s the statement in full:
“The Executive Producer for Top Gear has written to the Mexican Ambassador and apologised for the comments made about him during the show. On the broader issue of comments about Mexicans as people, the show has explained they were making comic use of a stereotype; a practice with which regular viewers of Top Gear will be familiar.
“We are sorry if we have offended some people, but jokes centred on national stereotyping are a part of Top Gear’s humour, and indeed a robust part of our national humour. 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. When we do it, we are being rude, yes, and mischievous, but there is no vindictiveness behind the comments.
“This stereotyping humour is in itself a factor in the tolerance which the ambassador states is so prevalent in Britain.
“In line with that tradition, stereotype based comedy is allowed within BBC guidelines in programmes where the audience has clear expectations of that being the case, as indeed it is with Top Gear. Whilst it may appear offensive to those who have not watched the programme or who are unfamiliar with its humour, the Executive Producer has made it clear to the Ambassador that that was absolutely not the show’s intention.”
For those curious – here are the offending remarks: