"Elephant man" jibe earns Clarkson rap from BBC bosses
Jeremy Clarkson has found himself in hot water once again.
The Top Gear host – who's just signed a new three-year deal with the BBC – has breached the corporation's guidelines over remarks that compared a Toyota Prius campervan to the Elephant Man.
He also described it as "not a car you could talk to at a party unless you were looking at something else".
The remarks offended viewers and a report carried out by the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee discovered Clarkson "strayed into an offensive stereotypical assumption".
The committee acknowledged that viewers enjoy the show's "sometimes controversial and forthright views" but said this remark "played on a stereotypically negative reaction to facial disfigurement".
It said it "strayed into an offensive stereotypical assumption" and was "not editorially justified".
The committee's report also said: "The committee accepted that the remark was exaggerated for comic effect, but believed that some viewers may find this particular remark, taken within the whole context of the exchange, to be a purposeless stereotype."
James Partridge, founder the disfigurement charity Changing Faces, which encouraged its supporters to complain, said: "This is a small step towards changing attitudes. It is vital that people with disfigurements are not seen as fair game for low-level jibes which are unacceptable and cruel.
"We very much hope, as the committee cautions, that their decision will act as a reminder to programme makers 'that audiences may find casual and purposeless stereotypes to be offensive' and that such unwarranted breaches are dealt with much more swiftly in the future."
Yesterday night the Top Gear host carried on the conversation on Twitter, tweeting: "Due to a blocked saliva gland, I have a growth on my face. As a result, I look a bit like a Toyota Prius camper van", and posted a picture of the offending Prius with the tweet: "This is very like my face".
In a Twitter conversation with Top Gear side-kick James May, Clarkson tweeted: "In future, we must stick to making fun only of short people."
Clarkson was cleared by Ofcom earlier this year of breaching the broadcasting code by watchdog Ofcom over the same remarks.