As reported a few days ago on Being Latino magazine and here, the call from prominent U.S. Latino organizations to remove the infamous TOP GEAR Mexican video segment (posted at the bottom of this page) has succeed. Yesterday, BBC Worldwide America President Herb Scannell replied:
So, people, what do we learn from this?
- Yes, if you have issues, you need to go into constant action, especially when it comes to social media. Social media gives you access to share your content (both good and bad) to a worldwide audience.
- BBC America took the letter sent to them seriously. They are cc’ing the FCC too.
- BBC America also knows that the growing U.S. Latino demographic is watching. This letter was a quick response.
However, what this letter does not do is the following:
- It makes no mention of BBC megastar and TOP GEAR host Jeremy Clarkson. So far, Clarkson and his two amigos, Richard Hammond and James May, have not faced any disciplinary action. Just some lame (and yes, racist, in the case of Clarkson) statements (still waiting to hear from May) about how we should all relax and know that this is just humor.
- The BBC also seems to be endorsing the behavior of the TOP GEAR guys since (guess what?) this story has actually gotten TOP GEAR tons of free publicity. We think that is just lame.
What TOP GEAR should do, in the spirit of social media, is to acknowledge the errors of their ways. Have fun with this story. Film in Mexico. Ride the Tortilla Car. Have Clarkson drink a Tecate on air.
Or how about this? Make a serious statement about how humor can indeed go to far and adds to the problem of illegal immigration violence in the U.S. That would be noble and would actually win Clarkson a lot of new viewers.
In the meantime, the TOP GEAR defense is starting to heat up. Here is one post called Liberal snobbery moves into ‘top gear’. The columnist writes:
But there is something more to this latest round of disingenuous outrage and eye-contact-avoiding contrition. In the myriad criticism aimed at Top Gear and its man-child presenters, one can hear the sound of sabres being rattled as liberal, right-thinking types affirm their superiority over a mass of people who quite like a programme about cars. For his critics, Clarkson, you see, is more than a person. He’s a phenomenon. Seasoned anti-Clarkson warriors are not just seizing the opportunity to have a pop at theirbête noir. They are seizing the opportunity to have a pop at all those they think he represents: the ignorant, the selfish, the people who laugh at tongue-in-cheek references to Frenchies and Eye-ties.
Yes, the perspective in England is different from that of US Latinos, and that is the crux of the issue for us. Remember: once the BBC records something and posts it publicly on YouTube and then, more importantly, block the video after it was shared by many, you are in fact admitting that there was a problem to begin with. Also, the BBC thinks that by trying to remove something, it will just go away. Well, it hasn’t, as you can see, we still have the video.
And by the way, for those who need to know, I am not a liberal snob as some may suggest. I am actually quite moderate. But when it comes to battling stereotypes and educating people about U.S. Latinos, I roll with the guys who like to expose ignorance.
As for Jerry Clarkson, would love to buy you a pint and tell you some real jokes.