Top Gear has been criticised by Ofcom after host Jeremy Clarkson compared a Ferrari’s appearance to “a simpleton” on the hit BBC2 motoring show.
In an episode of the show broadcast in August, Clarkson was reviewing the new Ferrari 458 Italia and comparing the car’s looks to other models from the Italian company.
The outspoken 50-year-old described modern Ferraris as “striking – yes, but pretty – no”.
He then added: “This one for example is just vulgar, and even James’ Ferrari was a bit wrong
“That smiling front end – it looked like a simpleton – should have been called the F430 Speciale Needs”.
Two viewers complained to Ofcom about Clarkson’s comments about the car, which was correctly known as the Ferrari F430 Especial.
In a statement, the media regulator said: “Ofcom recognises discriminatory language of this nature has the potential to be very offensive to some viewers, as it could be seen to single out certain sections of society in a derogatory way because of their disability.
“In Ofcom’s view, the comments made by Jeremy Clarkson in this instance were capable of causing offence.”
“In particular, on this occasion he was clearly criticising the car’s physical appearance by directly comparing it to ‘a simpleton’ and saying it should have been called ‘430 Speciale Needs.’”
The media regulator stopped short of taking any action after the BBC took “immediate steps” in response to viewers’ complaints and removed the comments from the repeat of the show and online.
Clarkson has been in hot water on a number of occasions with his controversial comments, in one instance describing former Prime Minister Gordon Brown as a “one-eyed Scottish idiot”.