‘Top Gear’ Host Jeremy Clarkson Jokes About BBC Suspension

“Means I will be able to get to the Chelsea match tonight,” says the soccer fan, as both his career and the future of the show are in jeopardy

James May (left) and Jeremy Clarkson (right)/BBC America

As the petition to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson behind the wheel of “Top Gear” reached 500,000 signatures Wednesday, the suspended BBC host appeared to brush his punishment off.

It “means I will be able to get to the Chelsea match tonight,” said Clarkson, referring to the London-based Premier League soccer team, according to BBC News.

When approached outside his London home, the British TV presenter told the media “just off to the job centre [unemployment office].” When asked if he regretted what happened, he replied “yes.”

Instead of heading to the unemployment office, Clarkson should have been shooting the latest episode of “Top Gear” that was scheduled to air in the U.K. next Sunday. The episode has now been canceled and no more shows will be broadcast while an investigation is conducted.

As TheWrap previously reported, Clarkson, who is infamous for his politically incorrect remarks, reportedly got into a fight with a producer last week and tried to punch him in the face. The 54-year-old host had already received a “final warning” from the BBC for using a racist slur during filming last year.

Clarkson’s latest transgression has caused ripple effects in England and the U.S., where “Top Gear” airs on BBC America and is one of the cable network’s highest-rated shows, with an average audience of 823,000 viewers in Nielsen’s live-plus-three ratings.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC, “I don’t know exactly what happened. He’s a constituent of mine, a friend of mine.

“He is such a huge talent and he amuses and entertains so many people, including my children, who’d be heartbroken if ‘Top Gear’ was taken off air. I hope this can be sorted out, because it’s a great programme and he’s a great talent,” Cameron told the BBC1 radio program “Midlands Today.”

Meanwhile, BBC director-general Tony Hall said an investigation was underway to “gather the facts” about the incident.

“We do not have the facts at the moment,” he said. “I am a fan of Jeremy Clarkson but this is a serious thing that is alleged to have taken place.”

According to media reports, Clarkson earns about $1.5 million a year to present the show, making him one of the network’s highest paid employees. He faces losing his job once the investigation ends.