Apparently, Mexicans don’t like being referred to as “lazy, feckless, flatulent and overweight.” Who would have thought? Top Gear host Richard Hammond’s comments on the Mexican people have upset the Mexican ambassador in London. Personally, I think he’s being a bit unfair. Mexican cartels seem to operate with ruthless efficiency, always a step ahead of U.S. Customs in their drug smuggling schemes.
In all fairness to Mr. Hammond, Top Gear rags on a lot of different nations (America — dumb and also overweight, Germans — preoccupied with efficiency and lacking substance, etc.). Although he might have been better served to simply say Mexican’t instead of “lazy, feckless, flatulent and overweight.” From the Guardian:
The Mexican ambassador in London has complained to the BBC about “xenophobic” and “offensive” comments made by the motoring show’s presenters.
Ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza has demanded an apology after Richard Hammond jokingly described Mexicans as “lazy, feckless, flatulent [and] overweight” during an episode of the BBC2 show screened on Sunday.
His co-presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May went on to describe Mexican food as “refried sick”.
Clarkson, who has repeatedly been criticised for making offensive comments on the programme, said on Sunday’s show there would be no complaints this time because the Mexican ambassador would: “be sitting there with a remote control like this,”. The presenter pretended to slump in a chair, snoring.
The Mexican ambassador has written to the BBC, however, demanding that it order the presenters to make a public apology.
“The presenters of the programme resorted to outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults to stir bigoted feelings against the Mexican people, their culture as well as their official representative in the United Kingdom,” he wrote.
“These offensive, xenophobic and humiliating remarks serve only to reinforce negative stereotypes and perpetuate prejudice against Mexico and its people.”
The Top Gear hosts made the comments when they discussed a Mexican sports car, the Mastretta. Hammond said: “Why would you want a Mexican car? Because cars reflect national characteristics don’t they?
“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.”
Top Gear is one of the BBC’s biggest hits and is sold around the world, but the risque banter that is part of the programme’s appeal means it often offends viewers.
Hundreds complained in 2008 about a joke made by Clarkson about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes shortly after Steve Wright, a forklift truck driver from Ipswich, was jailed for killing five young women who worked as prostitutes.
The programme was also rapped by the BBC Trust‘s editorial standards unit three years ago when they were filmed drinking while driving in the Artic for a special “polar” edition.
Clarkson was criticised in 2009 for calling former prime minster Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish idiot” while hosting a stage version of the show in Sydney.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People labelled his comments “completely unacceptable”. Clarkson apologised but refused to say sorry for calling Brown “an idiot”.
More than 500 people complained to the BBC.
Medina said: “Although casual banter is an essential component of the programme’s appeal, humour never justifies xenophobia.”
“It is not a matter of taste but of basic principles.”
The BBC said: “We have received a letter from the Mexican ambassador, and shall respond to him directly.”