Jeremy Clarkson is a man known to cause a small amount of controversy. It’s usually an uproar from one group or another who has been offended by his strong opinions, but recently it was over his fist connecting with someone’s face. We all know how that one ended, but he’s still not out of hot water for his actions on Top Gear with the whole Argentina incident still looming.
Top Gear‘s trip to Argentina was the big headline for a time and it was all over the place. The whole crew was in the country for a Christmas special and the plate on Clarkson’s Porsche read H982 FKL. The local residents saw this as a reference to the Falklands War of 1982 which was fought over the sovereignty of a nearby archipelago.
There were strong words followed by strong actions as people rioted over the plate. The whole Top Gear crew was rushed out of the country under police escort as people lobbed bottles and rocks at the passing vehicles.
Months have passed and Clarkson is no longer a part of whatever remains of Top Gear, but that doesn’t mean the courts and Argentina are done with the outspoken host. The whole thing has resulted in an issue being brought to court over how they all behaved while in Argentina.
The case isn’t over whether the license plate was an intentional reference to the war, but over whether or not the plate was illegally changed while the crew was fleeing the mobs. It’s illegal to change the plates on your car all willy-nilly in most countries, including Argentina.
A case was brought before Argentinian Judge Cristina Barrionuevo to decide if they broke the law by changing out the plates, not over the possibility that they were selected to instigate public unrest. The judge had some rather strong words for the Top Gear crew saying it was, “arrogant and disrespectful.”
She went on to say that she believed they had tried to provoke a reaction out of people and that, “The reaction of locals to such an offensive action was to be expected.” The judge may have been none too happy, but in this particular case, she ruled in Top Gear‘s favor.
They were found justified in switching out their plates because of the danger posed by the mob despite the judge’s disapproval of their overall behavior. Looks like Clarkson and crew are off the hook, but the ruling will likely be appealed so it’s not over yet.