The Director General of the BBC, Lord (Tony) Hall of Birkenhead, today announced that the Corporation would not be renewing the contract of Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
Clarkson, who had fronted the popular BBC Two motoring show since 2002, was suspended a fortnight ago following allegations that he had thumped and verbally abused producer Oisin Tymon. You can read more about the incident in our earlier article.
Ken McQuarrie, the Director of BBC Scotland, was appointed to lead the Corporation's internal investigation into Clarkson's conduct. To that end Mr McQuarrie conducted a series of interviews with witnesses and others connected with the incident, including both Clarkson and Tymon.
The BBC has released a document summarising the key findings and conclusions of Mr McQuarrie's investigation.
He concludes: "On 4th March 2015 Oisin Tymon was subject to an unprovoked physical and verbal attack by Jeremy Clarkson.
"During the physical attack Oisin Tymon was struck, resulting in a swelling and bleeding to his lip.
"The verbal abuse was sustained over a longer period, both at the time of the physical attack and subsequently."
Drilling down into the finer detail of Mr McQuarrie's report, he notes the following facts:
- On 4th March studio recording of Top Gear had taken place in Surrey and the presenters had travelled that same evening to a location shoot in North Yorkshire.
- The incident occurred on a patio area of the Simonstone Hall Hotel, where Oisin Tymon was working on location for Top Gear.
- The physical attack lasted around 30 seconds and was halted by the intervention of a witness.
- It is the case that Oisin Tymon offered no retaliation.
- The verbal abuse was directed at Oisin Tymon on more than one occasion - both during the physical attack and subsequently in the hotel - and contained the strongest expletives and threats to sack him. The abuse was at such volume as to be heard in the dining room, and the shouting was audible in a hotel bedroom.
- Derogatory and abusive language, relating to Oisin Tymon and other members of the Top Gear team, continued to be used by Jeremy Clarkson inside the hotel, in the presence of others, for a sustained period of time.
- It is clear that Oisin Tymon was shocked and distressed by the attack, and believed that he had lost his job.
- Following the attack, it is understood that Oisin Tymon drove to a nearby A&E department for examination.
- Over subsequent days, Jeremy Clarkson made a number of attempts to apologise to Oisin Tymon by way of text, email and in person.
- It is the case that Jeremy Clarkson reported the incident to BBC management.
Lord Hall said: "It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract.
"It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.
"I am grateful to Ken MacQuarrie for the thorough way he has conducted an investigation of the incident on 4th March.
"Given the obvious and very genuine public interest in this I am publishing the findings of his report. I take no pleasure in doing so. I am only making them public so people can better understand the background.
"I know how popular the programme is and I also know that this decision will divide opinion. The main facts are not disputed by those involved."