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Some people want Amazon to fire Jeremy Clarkson over his comments about transgender people

Max Slater-Robins
Jeremy Clarkson

Reuters/John Sibley

Jeremy Clarkson in the stands before the Chelsea v Paris St Germain football match in March 2015.

Some people think Amazon should fire Jeremy Clarkson, the TV presenter who is working on a new car-based show for the web giant, after he made derisory comments about transgender people in a column for The Sunday Times.

Clarkson, who has built a brand around making loud, reactionary, over-the-top comments, described the decision to change genders as a child or young adult as a “whim” before relaying an anecdote in which he was “horrified” that a parent had “indulged” their child, allowing them to dress as a female.

The column said: 

“It’s what kids do: dream impossible dreams. You don’t actually take them seriously. You don’t take them to a hospital when they’re 10 and say, ‘He wants to be a girl, so can you lop his todger off?’

The reaction to Clarkson from LGBT activists, especially on Twitter, was swift, with many calling for him to be sacked by Amazon. A Change.org petition was created urging Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to take action.

The company has not yet responded to a request for comment.

According to Amazon’s code of conduct, the company provides “equal opportunity in all aspects of employment” and “will not tolerate any illegal discrimination or harassment of any kind.”

Clarkson has potentially put Amazon in a tough spot: If it defends Clarkson, it will look as if Amazon sympathises with his views. If it condemns him, it opens the question of why Amazon keeps him on, if his views are antithetical to the company’s non-discrimination policies.

According to reports, Amazon paid around $250 million (£175 million) for a new TV show, fronted by Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, who previously worked on “Top Gear.” Clarkson is set to get around £10 million ($14 million) per year from the show, which will air on Amazon Prime. Clarkson has also appeared in a series of adverts for Amazon, promoting the Kindle Fire TV. 

Clarkson was fired from the BBC after assaulting a producer, who later went on to sue the TV personality for racial discrimination

Matt Lucas, a performer who has produced hit TV shows for the BBC, tweeted that Clarkson was “your out-of-touch grandpa.”


Paris Lees, a British journalist and LGBT activist, also released a series of tweets condemning Clarkson’s comments.





Others, tweeting directly at Amazon’s official accounts, asked how the company behind “Transparent,” which focuses on transgender issues, could employ Clarkson.


During his time at the BBC, Clarkson made multiple comments that were considered offensive, including about prostitutes, people from Poland, and Mexicans. Clarkson later apologised for many of his comments.

Top Gear

BBC

The “Top Gear” team in Vietnam during a challenge.

The team were out of Argentina during the filming of a special programme after people noticed that Clarkson’s car number plate appeared to reference the Falklands War, in which Britain and Argentina battled over the Falkland Islands. The war lasted two weeks and nearly 1,000 people died. 

Clarkson’s new show, which does not yet have a name, is similar to “Top Gear,” which saw the three presenters joking around, driving fast cars, and engaging in challenges, such as buying a Porsche for £1,500 ($2,000) and driving it across Britain.

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