BBC director general Tony Hall has confirmed the UK pubcaster will not be renewing Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s contract as a result of an altercation with producer Oisin Tymon.
“It is not a decision I have taken lightly,” said Hall in a statement. “I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.”
The director general – whose published statement links to the findings of an investigation into the incident, carried out by BBC Scotland’s Ken MacQuarrie – says he “takes no pleasure” in publishing the report, but is doing so in order to provide clarity for the public on the situation.
According to the report, Tymon was subject to “an unprovoked physical and verbal attack” by Clarkson on March 4. During the attack, the producer was struck, resulting in swelling and bleeding to his lip.
“The verbal abuse was sustained over a longer period, both at the time of the physical attack and subsequently,” reads the report, adding that the producer drove to Accident and Emergency for examination following the altercation.
In addition, the report states that Clarkson made “a number of attempts” to apologize to Tymon by way of text, email and in-person, and later reported the incident to BBC management.
In his statement, Hall says he cannot condone the incident, adding, “For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations.”
He further notes that the decision “should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC.
“Jeremy is a huge talent,” said Hall. “He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come.”
Kim Shillinglaw - controller for BBC2 and BBC4 – is to oversee the future of the series in the coming months, as well as the completion of the current season.
Top Gear is one of the BBC’s most popular global franchises, attracting a worldwide audience of approximately 350 million viewers.