Jeremy Clarkson may not be returning to BBC’s “Top Gear,” but the network is still dealing with the drama surrounding his departure. Director-General Tony Hall has received death threats after firing the host of the popular car program.
Hall has allegedly enlisted an “elite squad of bodyguards” after an email death threat over the decision to let go of the “Top Gear” presenter, according to the U.K.-based Mail on Sunday. The threat was delivered Wednesday, and police are taking the matter seriously after finding it to be “credible.” Hall and his wife, Cynthia, are purportedly being protected by a team of eight trained men.
“A select group of close protection officers were approached and told that, as a direct result of the ‘Top Gear’ punch-up and Jeremy Clarkson being sacked by the BBC, the DG has received a death threat,” a source told the Mail on Sunday.
The director-general made the decision not to renew Jeremy Clarkson’s contract this week. Clarkson got into a verbal and physical altercation with “Top Gear” producer Oisin Tymon March 4. The incident with Tymon was supposedly “unprovoked.”
Although Tymon announced he would not press charges against the show’s star, Hall revealed Wednesday that the BBC decided to terminate Clarkson.
“For me, a line has been crossed,” Hall said in a statement. “There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank or public-relations and commercial considerations.”
“Top Gear” fans did not take kindly to Clarkson getting fired from the popular series. A Change.org petition was launched to reinstate the host, and it has already received more than 1 million signatures since being created three weeks ago.
An investigation into the death threats against Hall is currently under way, with no news of an arrest.