BBC clears Jeremy Clarkson of racism for use of word "pikey"

 
Joe Hall
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Clarkson has been a permanent fixture in news headlines over the last week. (Source: Getty)
Jeremy Clarkson has been cleared of racism for using the word “pikey” by the BBC.
The controversial Top Gear presenter, currently suspended due to his involvement in a “fracas” with a producer, used the word on an episode of Top Gear which aired last February.
Clarkson unveiled a placard portraying the words “Pikey’s Peak” as he poked fun at co-presenter Richard Hammond’s choice of a Vauxhall Nora for a race between 1980s hatchbacks.
Viewers including the Traveller Movement lodged complaints to the BBC but an internal investigation at the broadcaster ruled that the use of the word was not racially motivated.
The BBC Trust editorial standards committee issued a statement saying:
On this occasion, the use of the word ‘pikey’ as a play on words would not have been seen as a careless or purposeless stereotype about travellers and gypsies, but in keeping with the style of humour exhibited by the presenters towards Richard Hammond’s perceived ‘cheap style’.
However the committee did also admit that the word “did have the potential to be deeply offensive to the gypsy and traveller communities”.
Clarkson is currently suspended by the BBC as it investigates his behaviour in a “fracas” with Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon. Clarkson is alleged to have punched Tymon in a dispute over food.
Top Gear’s final three episodes of this year’s series were cancelled, causing a crash in BBC 2's viewers. Last Sunday’s showing of Royal Air Force Acrobatics in its place pulled in around 5m fewer viewers than the series’ average of 6.2m viewers.

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