Popular TV show Top Gear
has caused a stir after its presenters made derogatory comments about Mexico. The Mexican ambassador in London complained that Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond’s comments were "xenophobic" and "offensive".
Ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza has demanded an apology after Hammond jokingly described Mexicans as "lazy, feckless, flatulent [and] overweight". Clarkson and May went on to describe Mexican food as "refried sick".
"The presenters of the programme resorted to outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults to stir bigoted feelings against the Mexican people, their culture as well as their official representative in the United Kingdom," The Mexican ambassador wrote to the BBC. "These offensive, xenophobic and humiliating remarks serve only to reinforce negative stereotypes and perpetuate prejudice against Mexico and its people."
The Top Gear
hosts made the comments when they discussed a Mexican sports car, the Mastretta. Hammond said that the vehicle reflected the country’s 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."
Part of the programme's appeal is the outspoken views of the hosts and this isn’t the first time viewers have been offended. Late last year the trio caused a stir by dressing in niqabs, a version of the burqa covering everything but the eyes, while filming a segment in the Middle Eastern country of Syria.
The BBC also received hundreds of complaints in 2008 when Clarkson joked about truck drivers murdering prostitutes shortly after Steve Wright was jailed for killing five young women who worked as prostitutes.