Comments on BBC Program Called "Outrageous, Vulgar, and Inexcusable"

The Story

Did the BBC motoring show, Top Gear, go too far with its irreverent humor?  In describing Mexican cars, Richard Hammond said they would reflect "national characteristics" and would be "lazy, feckless, flatulent."  Negative comments about Mexicans continued on the show.  After much criticism, BBC apologized for the offensive comments.

Top Gear

 Discussion Starters

  • After listening to the news clip, how do you assess the comments about Mexicans?  Do they offend you?  Can you see how they might offend others?
  • Read BBC's response to the incident.  The statement acknowledges an apology but also defends the practice of "national stereotyping" as part of the show -- as well as part of British humor.  Do you buy this explanation? 

Assignment Ideas

  • Read some of the comments posted about the incident.  Choose 2-3 that you most agree with and, in an email to your instructor, explain why they have merit.  Alternatively, you may choose 2-3 that you most disagree with and explain your reasoning.
  • Write an email to Top Gear presenters to either criticize or defend their comments.