‘Top Gear’ Host Jeremy Clarkson Fired by BBC For Assaulting Producer

“We need distinctive and different voices but they cannot come at any price,” BBC Director-General Tony Hall says

Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear Cropped
Jeremy Clarkson/BBC America

After weeks of speculation, Jeremy Clarkson was officially fired by the BBC on Wednesday.

The ruling came after the “Top Gear” host was the subject of an internal investigation following an assault earlier this month when he got into a fracas with one of the show’s producers over the lack of hot food after filming.

“It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract,” BBC Director-General Tony Hall said in a statement. “It is not a decision I have taken lightly.  I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.”

Clarkson, who is infamous for his politically incorrect remarks, spent 20 minutes verbally abusing producer Oisin Tymon, before launching a 30 second physical assault on him, reported the Telegraph.

The outburst occurred when Clarkson, 54, demanded steak and fries after a day of filming, but was told that the hotel in North Yorkshire, England, where the crew was staying, was no longer serving hot food.

The controversial host had already received a “final warning” from the BBC for using a racist slur during filming last year.

Since it first aired in the U.K. in 2002, “Top Gear” has grown from a straightforward show about cars into a global phenomena watched by 350 million viewers in 170 countries. According to the New York Times, Clarkson is paid about $1.5 million a year to present the show, making him one of the network’s most highly-paid employees.

Clarkson rose to public prominence as a presenter of the original format of “Top Gear” in 1988. From 1998 to 2000, he also hosted his own talk show, “Clarkson.” Also it first aired in 1977 as a conventional motoring magazine show, “Top Gear” was relaunched by the BBC in 2002 with hosts Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, along with Test Driver mascot, The Stig.

In October, Clarkson and his crew hit the headlines when they were forced to flee Argentina after being attacked by local residents for driving a car with the license plate H982 FLK, a suspected reference to the British victory over Argentina in the Falkland Islands war of 1982. Clarkson insisted it was a coincidence.

Other controversies that have occurred over the years include making homophobic comments, making a mock Nazi salute while talking about German cars, joking about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes, making fun of the Indian culture, and describing a Ferrari F430 as “special needs.”

“Top Gear” airs in the U.S. on BBC America and has won a BAFTA, multiple National Television Awards and an International Emmy Award.

Jordan Chariton contributed to this report