Jeremy Clarkson’s homophobic and misogynistic tweet is the sign of a middle-aged man desperately trying to still be one of the lads.
Top Gear host and serial minority offender Jeremy Clarkson has apologised for tweeting a photograph taken of himself asleep on a plane next to a sign with an arrow pointing at him and the words “gay c*nt”. Fellow Top Gear host James May is in the background grinning, though the person holding the sign is out of shot.
The tweet came with the caption: “Sadly, I fell asleep on the plane”. One can only imagine the atomic face-palm Clarkson’s PR agent gave himself on seeing the tweet, presuming of course that his PR agent is not on sabbatical, suffering from stress.
There’s a little something to offend all the family with an expression like “gay c*nt”. It’s both homophobic and misogynistic, and it’s little pathetic that a man the far side of 50, working for a national broadcaster, thinks its funny.
Lest we not forget, Clarkson has some pedigree with the recurrent use of the word gay as a pejorative term. Remember he said he wouldn’t buy a car because it was “a bit gay” and “very ginger beer” (which is rhyming slang for ‘queer’)? This man has an estimated paypacket of £1 million a year from the BBC, which is funded by license payers. When he behaves so irresponsibly, surely questions need to be asked.
Clarkson’s typically glib semi-apology was: “I have deleted my last tweet and would like to apologise profusely to anyone who I upset while I was asleep”.
The thing is, though, Mr Clarkson, you didn’t offend anyone while you were asleep. Nobody really cares whether you and your man-child hangers-on really care about gay equality. What we do care about, and what British TV license payers should care about, is your broadcasting of homophobia and misogyny for the sake of retweets. The decision to share the photo with thousands of people was certainly yours.
So, what’s the excuse for tweeting an image that so many people could legitimately be offended by? Was it an inadvertent social networking error? Hardly. The man has been dragged through more BBC directors’ meetings about minority issues than most. Maybe he was sleep tweeting? That is a distinct possibility. Perhaps the fact that as he was neither the one holding the sign, nor was he even conscious while the photo was being taken, can absolve Clarkson of some guilt?
I believe this was yet another slightly tragic bid for attention, a bid to feed a middle-aged man’s childish appetite to still be considered one of the ‘lads’. It’s an image Clarkson seems to relish courting, and one his legions of fans appreciate, the majority of whom are middle-class gentlemen of a certain age.
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