Hosts of BBC’s world wide syndicated auto Show “Top Gear” are under fire for spewing Mexican stereotypes during a segment about the new Mexican sports car, the Mastretta MXT -- all without testing the car themselves.
The piece started with tongue-and-cheek jokes, but culminated with direct insults to the Mexican ambassador.
“Cars reflect national characteristics, don’t they?” host Richard Hammond said. “Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.”
Fellow co-hosts Jeremy Clarkson and James May chimed in with their own remarks, describing Mexican food as “refried sick.”
At one point, Clarkson realized that the jokes crossed the line, but didn’t seemed too concerned.
“That’s why we won’t get any complaints about this because at the Mexican embassy the ambassador’s going to be sitting there with a remote control like this,” said Clarkson while slumped in a chair pretending to snore.
Well, it turn’s out the Mexican ambassador to England, Eduardo Medina Mora was awake -- along with hundreds of Mexican viewers. The embassy released a statement complaining that the jokes were “offensive and xenophobic.”
The broadcaster issued an apology, but defended the jokes as being part of British humor.
"The show has explained they were making comic use of a stereotype; a practice with which regular viewers of Top Gear will be familiar," the BBC said.
Well, it looks like Mastretta will have the last laugh. According to the Mexican auto company, Internet traffic on the company's website shot up, there has been an increase in visits to it’s factory and orders have begun to pour in from all over the world -- including England.
The 2011 MXT is pushed by a 2.0 liter inline-4 engine that produces 240 ho. It has a 0 to 60 miles of 4.6 seconds, a top speed of 143 mph and a sticker price of $60,000.