Under fire Jeremy Clarkson last night sparked a new racism row after he was caught using the n-word while filming for Top Gear.
In the unseen footage – which was later edited out of the show – the £1million a year TV host is seen swinging his finger between two cars, while reciting a racist version of a children’s counting rhyme.
For live reaction to Clarkson's n-word shame, click here.
Clarkson can be heard chanting: “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe...” He then mumbles: “Catch a n***** by his toe”.
This morning the TV presenter denied using the n-word and said he has "never" used it.
I did not use the n word. Never use it. The Mirror has gone way too far this time.— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) May 1, 2014
The shocking footage comes not long after Clarkson was involved in another offensive outburst, when he was accused of using the term “slope” while filming in Thailand for the flagship BBC car show.
Last night, legal experts said that the recent language used by the 54-year-old, who last year reportedly took home £14million thanks largely to his stake in a firm which exploits Top Gear’s global brand, could even result in a breach of the law in some cases.
Solicitor Lucy Scott Moncrieff said: “It is all about context. If there was a crew member who was distressed by it, then there could well have been a breach of equality legislation.”
Fellow lawyer Lawrence Davies blasted: “Clarkson has to be sacked, no matter how much money he makes for the BBC. Use of that word is not acceptable.”
The Mirror hired a firm of audio forensic experts to analyse the clip and they confirmed that the n-word was indeed used by Clarkson.
An investigator – working for digital forensics company CY4OR – produced a transcript as part of the study. It stated Clarkson said the following: “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a n***** by his toe, when he squeals, let him go, eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”
Clarkson was filming for Series 19 Episode 3 when he used the phrase. The start of the show featured a segment where he was test driving the £25,000 Toyota GT86 and the similarly priced Subaru BRZ.
"Ordinarily I don't respond to newspaper allegations but on this occasion I feel I must make an exception.
"A couple of years ago I recorded an item for Top Gear in which I quoted the rhyme "eeny meeny miny moe". Now of course I was well aware that in the best known version of this rhyme there is a racist expression that I was extremely keen to avoid.
"The full rushes show that I did three takes. In two I mumbled where the offensive word would normally occur and in the third I replaced it altogether with the word teacher.
"Now when I viewed this footage several weeks later I realised that in one of the mumbled versions, if you listen very carefully with the sound turned right up, it did appear that I'd actually used the word I was trying to obscure.
"I was mortified by this. Horrified. It is a word I loathe and I did everything in my power to make sure that version did not appear in the programme that was transmitted. In fact I have here the note I sent at the time to the production office and it says: 'I didn't use the n-word here but I've just listened through my headphones and it sounds like I did. Is there another take that we could use?'
"Please be assured I did everything in my power to not use that word. And, as I'm sitting here begging your forgiveness for the fact that obviously my efforts weren't quite good enough. Thank you."
video under cut