Brace yourself. Here are some of the adjectives Mexico’s ambassador is using to describe a BBC program earlier this week – ‘outrageous,’ ‘vulgar,’ ‘inexcusable,’ ‘offensive,’ ‘xenophobic’ and ‘humiliating.’
Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora used those words in a public letter demanding that the BBC apologize for what he said was highly offensive commentary on the Top Gear program seen Sunday night, built around a supposed Mexican sports car called a 'Tortilla.'
Casual banter is a hallmark of Top Gear, a BBC show about cars that has frequent road tests. But if you watch the YouTube excerpt above you can see they really go over the top in evoking ugly stereotypes.
Medina’s demand for a public apology from the Beeb is the lead story on the websites of both El Universal and Reforma at the moment.
“The presenters of the programme resorted to outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults to stir bigoted feelings against the Mexican people, their culture as well as their official representative in the United Kingdom,” Medina wrote. Click here to see the Secretariat of Foreign Relations' Spanish-language website containing the letter in English.
The letter notes that the UK is a tolerant and pluri-ethnic country, making it “utterly incomprehensible and unacceptable that the premiere broadcaster should allow three of its presenters to display their bigotry and ignorance by mocking the people and culture of our country with such vehemence.”
Medina asked the BBC for a “public apology” on the program.
Apparently many Mexican internet users didn’t take the kind of offense at the show that the ambassador did, if the remarks posted on the El Universal website are any indication. Many showed the refined sense of irony that I personally find refreshing in Mexicans.
“Why such a scandal?” one poster asked. “How insecure people are to be offended so easily.”
Another said: “This stereotype of the lazy Mexican is so out of date. To make the joke more current, instead of calling the car a ‘tortilla’ it should be called a ‘hit man.’ Instead of ‘lazy’ it should show a high-caliber weapon.”