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The BBC Has Sacked Jeremy Clarkson From "Top Gear"

And on that bombshell.

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In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, BBC director-general Tony 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."

He added: "A member of staff – who is a completely innocent party – took himself to Accident and Emergency after a physical altercation accompanied by sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature. For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations."

The Daily Telegraph had revealed on Tuesday evening that Hall had decided to not to renew Clarkson's contract, which was days away from being renewed before the incident. BBC sources told The Guardian that there was "little alternative" following what became known as the "fracas".

Clarkson insisted on Wednesday morning that he had not been told of any judgment.

Just to keep everyone up to date, I haven't heard a thing.

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Clarkson was suspended after getting into a row with Tymon, one of the show's producers.

BBC

A report of the incident accompanying Hall's statement said that Tymon was "subject to an unprovoked physical and verbal attack by Jeremy Clarkson". The report said the physical attack lasted for around 30 seconds, that Tymon did not retaliate, and that afterwards Tymon went to A&E for examination.

The report added that Tymon was "shocked and distressed by the incident, and believed that he had lost his job". Clarkson then made multiple attempts to apologise to Tymon before reporting the attack to management.

Since the report was made public, both Clarkson and co-star James May have updated their Twitter avatars.

Speaking to Sky News, May said that the decision was "...a tragedy. I'm sorry that what ought to have been a small incident sorted out easily has turned into something big."

Asked whether he will continue presenting the show, he said, "I don't want to talk about that too much but I think we are very much the three of us as a package" and added that he will give presenting Top Gear in the future "careful thought".

May and Clarkson's co-star, Richard Hammond, has also tweeted this.

Gutted at such a sad end to an era. We're all three of us idiots in our different ways but it's been an incredible ride together.

BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans was rumoured to have been approached to take over Clarkson's role on Top Gear, but he denied it on his radio show.

Max Nash / Getty Images

"This is not true," Evans told listeners. "Not only is it not true, it is absolute nonsense. ... [It's] never going to happen, and that's the end of that."

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The "fracas" is the latest in many Clarkson controversies in recent years, with a big crisis only months ago.

BBC / Top Gear / youtube.com

In 2014 the Top Gear crew's cars were attacked in Argentina after Clarkson's car featured the licence plate N982 FKL, which many interpreted as a reference to the Falklands.

In July that year, Clarkson faced much criticism for using what many people considered to be a racist word in the show's Burma special.

In 2013, the Daily Mirror broke the story that Clarkson had used the n-word while reciting a children's nursery rhyme. He insisted he had done his best to avoid it, saying: "I was mortified by this, horrified. It is a word I loathe."

However, Clarkson attracted an impressive range of defenders over the past week, from Snoop Dogg and Russell Crowe to David Cameron and his daughter and Rupert Murdoch, who tweeted this:

How stupid can BBC be in firing Jeremy Clarkson? Funny man with great expertise and huge following.

There were also bizarre scenes at New Broadcasting House last week as a tank delivered a petition organised by the Guido Fawkes website calling for Clarkson's reinstatement.

The site claimed a change.org petition had received a million signatures.

Top Gear is one of the BBC's biggest money-spinners, generating £50 million a year for the corporation.

BBC / Top Gear

Clarkson has received tens of millions of pounds for his key role in reinventing the format since it returned to the BBC in 2002. Top Gear Live, a stadium tour version of the show, has boasted 1.9 million audience members over 344 peformances. The scandal has already had an impact, with four shows due to take place in Norway being cancelled.

It has previously been reported that Richard Hammond and James May, Clarkson's co-stars, refused to continue the series without him. Hall's statement said the BBC would now look to "renew Top Gear for 2016".

Speculation has been rife about where Clarkson might go next, with rumours suggesting ITV or Netflix. It is understood that Sky isn't interested in hiring him.

And just last week Clarkson was confirmed to present an episode of Have I Got News For You on BBC One. When BuzzFeed News contacted the BBC to confirm whether his appearance was still going ahead, a spokesperson said: "We're not commenting on that at the moment. It's not a matter for today."

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