BBC 'must apologise' for Mexico insults: UK lawmakers

3rd February 2011, Comments 0 comments

A group of British lawmakers are demanding that the BBC apologise for "ignorant, derogatory and racist remarks" made about Mexico in a top TV show, as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg prepares to visit.

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

In a motion published by the House of Commons -- the lower house of parliament -- on Thursday, six lawmakers called on the BBC to make an urgent, public apology.

The motion said the comments were "unacceptable and untimely" given that the Spanish-speaking Clegg is due to visit Mexico in two weeks' time.

It called on the BBC to apologise "as a matter of urgency so that there is no significant interruption to the excellent political and economic relations that the two countries currently hold".

The motion has gained support from MPs in all three major parties.

In the show, during a discussion about a sports car made by Mexican firm Mastretta, presenter Richard Hammond said vehicles reflected national characteristics.

"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," he said.

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

Later in the exchange, chief presenter Jeremy 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" -- before slumping in his chair and snoring.

The parliamentary motion said "Top Gear" showed a "level of ignorance... far below anything expected from anyone in the public eye and illustrates a serious lack of judgement by the programme makers".

Such motions are launched to demonstrate the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view. Widely-backed ones are debated in the Commons.

The BBC has not commented on the complaint but has said it would respond directly to the ambassador.

© 2011 AFP

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