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Top Gear could be in trouble for using the word 'pikey'

Ofcom is investigating after a complaint was made by the Traveller Movement.

THE UK’S BROADCASTING watchdog has launched an investigation into an episode of Top Gear in which the word ‘pikey’ was used.

The episode from February of last year featured a sign erected by presenter Jeremy Clarkson naming a race track ‘Pikey’s Peak’. Pike’s Peak is the name of a mountain range in North America.

An internal review by the BBC’s Editorial Standards Committee had previously cleared use of the phrase saying that it had “evolved into common parlance among a number of people to mean ‘chavvy’ or ‘cheap’.”

The committee acknowledged that the word is related to travellers because it comes from the word ‘turnpike’ but said that there was ”intended racist reference”.

The broadcaster reports that the BBC Trust rejected an original complaint from the Traveller Movement organisation. The group has now referred their complaint to Ofcom who confirm they have launched an investigation into whether the episode breaches content standards.

Ofcom notes that an investigation does not necessarily mean a broadcaster has done anything wrong.

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Top Gear has previously used the term ‘pikey’ many times during show.

Last year, Ofcom decided that Top Gear had breached broadcasting rules during a ‘Burma Special’ episode when Clarkson said a bridge they’d constructed had ‘a slope on it’.

‘Slope’ has been used as an offensive term and Ofcom said it should not have been broadcast.

Read: James May has officially left Top Gear >

Read: Richard Hammond is sticking with his boys and walking away from Top Gear >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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