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BBC Host On Striking Workers: 'Execute Them In Front Of Their Families'

The BBC has apologized after one their most popular hosts called to have striking public workers killed "in front of their families." Labor unions claimed Wednesday that as many as two million public workers joined a strike over cuts in pension
8 years ago by David
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The BBC has apologized after one their most popular hosts called to have striking public workers killed "in front of their families."

Labor unions claimed Wednesday that as many as two million public workers joined a strike over cuts in pension rights as part of an austerity program by the British government.

In an interview on BBC's The One Show Wednesday, Jeremy Clarkson, host of BBC's Top Gear, was asked about the strikes that had affected "schools, hospitals, airports, even driving tests."

"Frankly, I'd have them all shot!" Clarkson exclaimed.

"I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families. I mean how dare they go on strike when they've got these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed while the rest of us have to work for a living?"

Those remarks left The One Show host Matt Baker making an on-air apology at the end of the show.

"Although we enjoy Jeremy’s views, which he sometimes exaggerates for comical effect, we are seriously sorry if his comments about deaths on the railways has upset anyone," Baker explained.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told ITV Thursday that he hadn't see the interview but, "it's a silly thing to say."

As a BBC employee, Clarkson is essentially paid by the same British taxpayers who he was calling to have executed.

UPDATE: As several of the commenters have noted, the full context of Clarkson's remarks show that he was most likely making a point about how the BBC wants all opinions to be "balanced" with a counterpoint.

"It is evident he is adopting a different persona for comedic effect as he says this, shifting his weight before he says it," Calum Nicholson wrote for The Huffington Post. "He is role-playing, in order to satirise the BBC's need for 'balance'. To balance, in this case, his expressed opinion that the strikes are a good thing."

"It looks like this has been missed by even his defenders. Probably because he transitions into this persona with barely a pause, and delivers the lines in complete dead-pan. And so unless you are paying close attention, it is perhaps not wholly obvious."

Clarkson has since clarified that the remarks were not meant to be taken seriously, but "[i]f the BBC and I have caused any offence, I'm quite happy to apologise for it alongside them."

As of Monday, the BBC had received more than 30,000 complaints about Clarkston.

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