One of Britain’s biggest trade unions has called for Jeremy Clarkson – outspoken presenter of the BBC’s most popular motoring show – to be fired after he said on television that striking public-sector workers should be shot.
Top Gear anchor Clarkson made his comments on the popular evening programme The One Show, leading to an apology from the BBC itself.
Unison says it’s taking legal advice, according to the BBC website.
“How dare they on strike,” Clarkson, 51, asked stunned One Show presenters, “when they’ve got these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed, while the rest of us have to work for a living?”
He said the strikers ought to be taken outside and executed “in front of their families.”
About two million public-sector workers staged the largest UK strike in a generation yesterday over pensions, causing disruption in schools and hospitals. But tens of thousands of people joined rallies in support of the strikers, says the BBC.
The corporation quotes Dave Prentis, Unison’s general secretary, as saying: “Clarkson’s comments on The One Show were totally outrageous, and they cannot be tolerated.
“An apology is not enough – we are calling on the BBC to sack Jeremy Clarkson immediately. We are seeking urgent legal advice about what further action we can take against him and the BBC, and whether or not his comments should be referred to the police.
Holding society together
“Jeremy Clarkson clearly needs a reminder of just who he is talking about when he calls for public-sector workers to be shot in front of their families.”
Prentis added: “Whilst he is driving round in fast cars for a living, public-sector workers are busy holding our society together – they save others’ lives on a daily basis, they care for the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly.”
Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said: “Jeremy Clarkson should apologise for those comments. He obviously does not understand the lives of the people who were going out on strike yesterday.”
But Prime Minister David Cameron was less critical, saying the remark was “a silly thing to say […] I’m sure he didn’t mean it.”
Clarkson is known for being outrageously outspoken, and has been known to host the satirical news-based quiz show Have I Got News For You.