Jeremy Clarkson, the irreverent host of Top Gear, the immensely popular BBC automotive review program, has been fired for hitting a colleague while filming the show on location earlier in March.
Tony Hall, the general director of the BBC, which produces the show, made the announcement.
Hall, who said he’s a fan of Clarkson, detailed the decision was made after an investigation of the confrontation between Clarkson and the producer. Clarkson was originally suspended, but the BBC subsequently Clarkson’s contract will not be renewed. It was scheduled to expire at the end of March.
Ken MacQuarrie, a BBC official, confirmed Clarkson hit producer Oisin Tymon and used “derogatory and abusive language.”
MacQuarrie added the BBC needs “distinctive and different voices, but they cannot come at any price.”
The final episodes of the current season of Top Gear were not aired while the investigation was ongoing.
Clarkson’s suspension was met with anger from his legion of fans. More than one million signatures in support of Clarkson were delivered in a petition to the BBC. Clarkson also received massive support online.
Despite his popularity, Clarkson often ran afoul of the network because of his repeated use of derogatory terms, including racial slurs.
The BBC said it will continue Top Gear in 2106. The contracts of co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May also expire at the end of this month and their respective futures with the program remain unknown.