Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has apologised for a photograph that he tweeted showing himself next to a sign that read “gay c*nt.”
The BBC2 presenter tweeted the image featuring fellow Top Gear host James May, along with the caption “Sadly, I fell asleep on the plane.”
Some followers quickly responded to say they were offended by the use of the word “gay” in the negative, one user responding: “Sad to see people still using ‘gay’ as some kind of insult.”
Others defended the presenter, one fan saying: “Get a f*cking life it’s called banter”
Now he has tweeted “I have deleted my last tweet and would like to apologise profusely to anyone who I upset while I was asleep.”
Clarkson, who is paid £1 million a year by the BBC, was nominated for Stonewall’s Bigot of the Year award in 2007 for refusing to apologise after being reprimanded by BBC bosses for derogatory gay jibes on primetime TV.
He told an audience member that he would not buy a car because it was “a bit gay” and “very ginger beer”, which is rhyming slang for “queer”.
In 2010, former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell said that when he appeared on Top Gear, Clarkson made a joke about not wanting to be “bummed” by gay people. The joke was cut from the broadcast show.
Then in 2011, Clarkson got himself into a spat with gay singer George Michael, who called him a “pig-ugly homophobic tw*t”.
At time of publication Clarkson’s photograph had been retweeted over 26,000 times.
Former Radio 1 presenter Chris Moyles was attacked by LGBT groups in June 2006 for calling a ringtone “gay”, and was ruled to have breached the broadcasting code in 2009 for comments he made about gay singer Will Young which sparked outrage and dozens of complaints to the BBC.
The BBC recently defended its decision to include clips of Graham Norton wearing a red ribbon on the presenter’s 2013 compilation show – even though he was previously reprimanded by the corporation for doing so.
Norton ignored instructions not to wear the ribbon on his programme on 29 November to highlight last year’s World AIDS Day on 1 December. Clarkson appeared as a guest on the show in question.
The BBC did not immediately respond to a request for a statement from PinkNews.