Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters of BBC’s Top Gear were forced to leave Argentina this week under a barrage of criticism and stones, after driving a car with an apparently offensive licence plate. “They threw us out for the political capital,” Clarkson tweeted. Describing the scene as “the most terrifying thing I’ve ever been involved in,” Clarkson said, “There were hundreds of them. They were hurling rocks and bricks at our cars.” The TV crew needed a police escort to get to the Chilean border. Protesters gathered outside the hotel were the TV crew were staying, and police had to be called after they invaded the hotel lobby. The cause of all this: Clarkson was driving a Porsche 928 with the plate H982 FKL, which Argentinians believed was a reference to the 1982 Falklands Conflict. The Guardian quotes Cesar Gonzalez, head of the Falklands’ veteran centre in Rio Grande, calling the number plate “an outright provocation. It had the number 982 – an allusion to the war  and the letters FLK for the Falklands. It was a mockery to us all.”
Clarkson and the BBC insist the number plate was simply a coincidence. Clarkson tweeted that it was “not a jolly jape that went awry… The number plate WAS a coincidence. When it was pointed out to us, we changed it.” Andy Willman, the program’s executive producer, said “Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme; to suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original, is completely untrue.” The BBC left the Porsche, along with the two other cars, in Argentina. “We’re leaving them here; we don’t want any more problems. Set fire to them if you like,” a Top Gear crew member is reported to have said. This is not the first time that Clarkson and the show have caused controversy.