Last weekend, an episode of the popular BBC2 show Top Gear sparked controversy when comments made by the presenters caused upset in Mexico, including a formal complaint lodged by ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora, in which he described the comments from Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson as ‘xenophobic and humiliating.’
Now the BBC has responded directly. In a letter addressed to Sr. Mora, it said it was sorry if had offended some people, but said jokes based on national stereotyping were part of British national humor and culture.
It also stated that there was no vindictiveness behind the comments, even if they might have been “rude” and “mischievous.”
“Our own comedians make jokes about the British being terrible cooks and terrible romantics, we in turn make jokes about the Italians being disorganized and over dramatic, the French being arrogant and the Germans being over-organized,” the corporation said.
The BBC announcement went on to say that such stereotype-based comedy is in line with BBC programming guidelines, provided the audience expects it, as is the case with Top Gear.