"On behalf of the Top Gear team and Matt, I would like to apologize unreservedly for what these images seem to portray," co-host Chris Evans says

By Phil Boucher
Updated March 14, 2016 10:15 AM
Credit: WENN

Matt LeBlanc has always been able to rely on lots of good Friends – and this now extends to the co-hosts of hit BBC motoring show Top Gear

Fresh from crashing a wedding at St Paul’s cathedral in a suped-up Ford Mustang, L Blanc has now received severe criticism for performing “donuts” near the Cenotaph war memorial in London – the most revered sight of remembrance in the United Kingdom.

Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told The Daily Telegraph that it was “a disgrace” that a car stunt should take place so close to the memorial.

While the BBC claims the stunt “took place around 40 metres away from the Cenotaph,” paparazzi photographs appear to show the war memorial being covered in smoke from the burning rubber of the Mustang’s tires. Heavy tire marks were also left outside the Houses of Parliament.

Luckily, for LeBlanc, however, co-host Chris Evans stepped in to shoulder the blame Monday morning.

“On behalf of the Top Gear team and Matt, I would like to apologize unreservedly for what these images seem to portray,” Evans said on his BBC radio breakfast show.

“There have been some very incendiary comments written alongside these pictures and I completely understand this furor but the Top Gear team would never ever do that,” he said. “Retrospectively it was unwise to be anywhere near the Cenotaph with this motorcar.”

Evans later described the decision to film near the Cenotaph as “unwise” before adding, “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.”

Evans later told reporters outside the BBC radio studios in London that the footage should “be pulled” – an idea that was first suggested by Kemp.

“It is gravely disrespectful,” Kemp told The Telegraph, before likening the Cenotaph – which is the annual site of remembrance for Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family, to a cemetery.

“It beggars belief that they were ever allowed to film here,” he added.

“People like Matt LeBlanc and other stars of Top Gear could never give to this country, or their own country, what those who have died fighting for it have given and I think a degree of respect is due to them,” he continued. “This is a sacred tribute to millions of people.”

This is not the first time that Top Gear has got into trouble for it’s gasoline-fuelled antics. In March 2015, previous host Jeremy Clarkson was sacked for launching an allegedly “unprovoked physical and verbal attack” on producer Oisin Tymon.

Co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May quit Top Gear soon after, prompting the BBC to hire LeBlanc, Evans and five other presenters to re-launch the show, which is scheduled to air in May.