You cannot punch a colleague and expect not to disciplined by your employers. Clarkson’s sacking – or non-renewal of contract, not exactly the same thing – was the right decision by the BBC, especially as he was on a final warning.
Imagine you’re a business where one salesperson brings in 60% of the revenue. A superstar. And that salesperson assaults a catering assistant whose crime was to fail to restock the smokey bacon crisps. What then? Sack the salesperson, knowing that business performance will drop considerably? Of course, you cry, it doesn’t matter how valuable to the business that person is, they should be sacked.
OK. What if Mary Berry punched a colleague? “Sack her”, I hear you cry. Although now maybe not with such enthusiasm. And do I hear a slight giggle as well? OK, she’s not on a final warning (as far as we know, although there are rumblings about an incident with ‘herbal’ cookies on the last series of ‘Bake Off’), but I can’t imagine the Clarkson decision would have been different even without his first caution. It’s food for thought.
Clarkson is a childish oaf, whose love of deliberately goading and taking the piss out of the righteous and indignant PC brigade is a large constituent of his success and popularity. Personally, I enjoyed his humour. The BBC made the right decision but the way that they handled the whole affair means that they will lose a lot of money and, ultimately, that our licence fees will not go as far in their Clarksonless world. The knee-jerk reaction of pulling Top Gear immediately the incident was reported was thoughtless and strategically stupid from all angles.
Oh, I almost made the same mistake as much of the media when covering Clarkson’s last stand. I haven’t mentioned the victim. Well, I hope he’s OK and (big breath)……learnt his lesson. Which is, if you’re going to forget to organise a colleague’s dinner, make sure it’s that of a small, mild-mannered guy like Richard Hammond, not a 6 foot 5 inch volatile self-important oaf like Clarkson.