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By The Drum Team, Editorial

December 13, 2011 | 1 min read

BBC director general Mark Thompson has stood by Jeremy Clarkson following his comments on the One Show where he said that public sector workers should be ‘executed in front of the families’ for taking strike action.

The comments, which have generated nearly 32,000 complaints to Ofcom, have led to Thompson and BBC chairman Lord Patten leaping to the Top Gear present’s defence, with Thompson declaring that Clarkson would not be sacked.

"I believe it is absolutely clear to anyone who watches the clips, perhaps not who reads a section of the transcript, these remarks are said entirely in jest and not to be taken seriously. In my view Jeremy Clarkson's remarks were absolutely and clearly intended as a joke,” said Thompson, The Guardian reports, while Patten described Clarkson as "probably one of the leading 'cultural' exports of this country".

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