Top Gear producer expresses regret over ‘light-hearted’ racist joke

The Military Awards London

Generally, when you’re globally known like the team at Top Gear and are getting sued for $1.66 million over claims of racism, it’s in your best interest to apologize early, often and profusely. You should not, however, apologize a month after the fact, when the furor had already died down. Someone, apparently, didn’t teach this lesson to TG Executive Producer Andy Wilman, who has ruffled feathers with an oddly worded apology for the incident, nearly a month after it happened.

“We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word ‘slope’ is considered by some to be offensive,” Wilman said. Claiming ignorance strikes us as a reasonable defense – most of the Autoblog team and many of the readers that commented on our original story had never heard that particular slur. He then eviscerates his defense by saying this:

“When we used the word ‘slope’ in the recent Top Gear Burma Special it was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it.”

Claiming ignorance that a term is racist and then admitting that you were using said term to refer to someone of a different race kind of indicates that you knew what you were up to.

Wilman then bewilderingly goes on to claim that the phrase isn’t well known in the United Kingdom, and that the furor seems to be coming from the United States and Australia. This ignores the fact that a Indian-born British actress and a British law firm are the ones suing Top Gear.

All told, this seems like a pretty bad play on the part of Wilman and the TG team.