Like you, I’ve got mixed feelings. I can’t stand Russell Brand, no feelings either way about Brooker (probably not seen enough of his stuff to form a view), but always liked Clarkson for not bowing to political correctness. I always thought a lot of it was put on - or at least exaggerated - for the reaction it gets. That is his brand (no pun intended with Russell) - and hugely successful it has been - not only here, but worldwide.
However, I think hitting someone (unless in self defence) is quite different from making controversial or provocative remarks. Where I used to work, it was grounds for instant dismissal, and this was tested one day when two parties (one of them a customer!) got into fisticuffs on their shared premises, and both were instantly dismissed, without any faffing around about “who started it”. Presumably they had the right to appeal, but either they didn’t bother, or were unsuccessful, because neither was ever seen again!
So ordinarily, I would assume there was no possible way someone could hit their boss (or anyone at work) and still carry on working.
But yet another twist emerges this morning, as it appears no complaint was made, and Clarkson reported himself. How serious can it have been, if the boss didn’t initiate any formal action, and why would anyone intentionally drop themselves in it over something nobody complained about? Had it been preying on his conscience for days? Did he believe his boss would eventually report it (even though several days had apparently elapsed), and it was better to get in first? Did he think the story would get out anyway from other witnesses, and again, that it was better to get in first?
It seems as if nothing would have happened if he’d just kept quiet - which points to it not being very serious, and something the producer was prepared to overlook.
“Punch” sounds very dramatic and inexcusable, but we’ve had no confirmation a punch was thrown. The BBC chose the odd word: “fracas”, which somehow implies physical, and yet rather minor. You wouldn’t expect anyone to be seriously hurt in a mere “fracas”. It also seems to imply more than one person involved - I don’t think one person attacking another who didn’t retaliate is a “fracas” - so what (if anything) did the producer do? I note he hasn’t been suspended…but also didn’t report it. Why not? Because he’s a nice guy who didn’t want to make trouble over a moment of silliness where no-one got hurt? Or because he felt it wouldn’t show him in a good light either?
All gets weirder and weirder. Why would Clarkson shop himself? Had he got fed up, and wanted to end the series early? Just don’t know.