A family who were staying at the hotel where the incident took place witnessed the argument, which was sparked because no hot food had been made available at the end of a day’s filming.
The four members of the Ward family were shocked when Clarkson started shouting and swearing at the producer, with the verbal abuse continuing for up to a half-hour, according to Sky News.
Sue Ward was stunned by Clarkson’s behavior. “He said (the producer) hadn’t done his job properly, it was ridiculous that there was nothing to eat – obviously there was lots of expletives in between all this – and that he would be losing his job, he would see to it that he would lose his job,” she said.
“Even someone who’s really inept at their job should be told properly, in a proper manner,” she said. “But the fact that it was in a public place. I didn’t want to listen to that language.”
Denise Ward added: “Just the shock of how can someone be so rude. It was just the swearing and the length of time and this poor guy he was ripping into.”
The stakes for the BBC are high: The show is worth more than £50 million ($73.7 million) a year to the broadcaster, and it has a global audience estimated at more than 350 million in 214 territories. A petition calling for Clarkson to be reinstated has attracted 845,000 supporters.
Clarkson and his two co-hosts are out of a contract at the end of this month, with several broadcasters looking to nab the trio, including Rupert Murdoch’s Sky. Clarkson has changed his Twitter profile from saying, “I am a presenter on the BBC2 motoring show, ‘Top Gear’ ” to “I am probably a presenter on the BBC2 motoring show, ‘Top Gear.'”
Clarkson is likely to tell his version of the story this weekend in his columns in the Murdoch-owned newspapers the Sun and the Sunday Times.