A Mexican jewelry design student is threatening to sue BBC over xenophobic jokes that were made by hosts of the show Top Gear. Among other insulting remarks and stereotypes, the host of the show referred to Mexico as a “lazy, feckless and flatulent” nation.
Iris de la Torre is a Mexican citizen living in London. Under a recently passed Equality Act, De la Torre may have a legitimate case as the act forbids anyone performing a public service from discriminating. Now, the question is, does a racist joke constitute as discrimination?
De la Torre’s lawyer says the remarks seem to be calculated to fuel racism and boost the show’s ratings. BBC supposedly apologized privately to the Mexican Ambassador, who sent the network a letter demanding an apology for jokes made about him. However, BBC has not apologized for offending all Mexicans and simply says the show was just making “comic use of a stereotype” – a practice that is part of the show.
Although the remarks are undoubtedly in poor taste, they would probably not be harsh enough to warrant a lawsuit in the United States considering the Constitutional protections on free speech.