“Friends” alum Matt LeBlanc, one of the newest hosts of BBC’s long-running motoring shows, “Top Gear,” has had his first brush with controversy, prompting co-host Chris Evans to apologize “unreservedly” and say that the BBC should refrain from broadcasting LeBlanc’s offending stunt.
The stunt in question was one that the American comedian performed for the revamped British auto show near the Cenotaph war memorial, one of London’s most revered and popular war memorials.
A retired British colonel took offense to the stunt, which reportedly left “doughnuts” of tire tracks around the memorial, calling it “gravely disrespectful.” Former army colonel Richard Kemp reacted to paparazzi images of LeBlanc’s “Top Gear” stunt, telling the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, “This is a sacred tribute to millions of people who have done far more for their country than Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc ever will.”
Kemp also alluded to long-time “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson, saying that the former host would not have performed such a stunt. Clarkson was booted out of “Top Gear” in 2015 after allegedly attacking one of the show’s producers.
Current “Top Gear” co-host Chris Evans was quick to react to the situation, issuing an apology to Kemp and everyone else who may have been offended by LeBlanc’s motoring stunt.
“It doesn’t matter what actually happened, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances were that could explain this away, what is important about this is what these images look like and they look entirely disrespectful, which is not and would never be the intention of the Top Gear team or Matt (LeBlanc),” Evans said, as quoted by The Guardian. He then continued to apologize for the team and for Matt.
The “Top Gear” host later said that the stunt performed near the memorial should not be aired when the series airs its new season, though he did admit that this decision is not up to him.