British TV show 'Top Gear' upsets Mexico

1st February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Mexico's ambassador to Britain has complained to the BBC over the popular TV show "Top Gear", saying its presenters made "offensive, xenophobic and humiliating" comments about his country.

Eduardo Medina-Mora has written to the BBC about "insults" made by Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May in the show broadcast in Britain on Sunday.

In a discussion about a Mexican sports car, Hammond said vehicles reflected national characteristics so "Mexican cars are just going to be lazy".

The "outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults" risked stirring "bigoted feelings against the Mexican people", the ambassador wrote.

Reviewing the Mastretta, Hammond said: "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."

The presenters then described Mexican food as "sick with cheese on it".

Later in the exchange, Clarkson said "we won't get any complaints about this because the Mexican ambassador's going to be sitting there with a remote control like this" -- and he slumped down in his chair and faked a snore.

The BBC did not comment on the complaint but said it would respond directly to the ambassador.

It is the not the first time that "Top Gear", which is one of the BBC's most popular programmes for foreign sales, has sparked controversy.

Hundreds of viewers complained in 2008 after Clarkson joked about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.

Last week, the programme was named most popular factual show at Britain's National TV Awards.

© 2011 AFP

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