Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/03/top_gear_legals/

Mexican woman gets litigious on Top Gear's ass

'Lazy, feckless and flatulent' jibe could cost Auntie dear

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 3rd February 2011 14:13 GMT

A Mexican woman has instructed lawyers to take action against the BBC's Top Gear over unflattering remarks made by the show's presenters about her native land.

As we reported yesterday, the programme is already in hot water with the country's ambassador to Blighty after Richard Hammond likened a Mexican sports car to "a lazy, feckless and flatulent oaf with a mustache, leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat".

Following a strongly-worded ambassadorial missive to the Beeb, describing the remarks as "offensive, xenophobic and humiliating ", 30-year-old jewellery design student Iris de la Torre has joined the fray by firing off a legal complaint to Auntie.

In it, she claims the remarks are "unlawful and a breach of rules banning discrimination by public bodies", the Telegraph explains.

A shaken De la Torre said: "I was shocked at what the BBC allowed to be broadcast. I do not understand how such ignorant people hold such high-profile jobs."

She's represented by legal outfit Equal Justice, whose Lawrence Davies insisted: "These remarks were probably calculated and deliberate to fuel anger and hence boost ratings - the presenters apparently feel that they are fighting a battle against political correctness."

The Beeb said it hadn't yet received the legal letter, but would handle it "through appropriate channels" when it turned up.

If the case comes to court, it'll be the first to be heard under the Equality Act, which came into force last September. The possible hit to the BBC's wallet could be £1m in damages, the Telegraph says. ®