Greta Thunberg ‘Needs A Smacked Bottom’ According To Jeremy Clarkson

Greta Thunberg ‘Needs A Smacked Bottom’ According To Jeremy Clarkson BBC/screengrab

Greta Thunberg is an environmental activist who isn’t shy about calling the bigwigs out on their BS. She’s outspoken, direct, and tells it like it is. Of course, that offends many people, particularly men with fragile egos, who feel the need to try and belittle her intelligence and infantilize her to distract from her actual message (which makes a whole lot of sense). Case in point? Jeremy Clarkson, best known for being the host of Top Gear and a Grade-A twat, has claimed that Thunberg “needs a smacked bottom” for… standing up for what’s right?

  1. Thunberg makes some really good points. She’s been speaking out on the measures needed to truly save the environment for years, but it was her recent protest outside the COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland that really got Clarkson’s goat. In an interview with The Times, Clarkson said that he doesn’t understand the “Greta Thunberg phenomenon” and that she “needs a smacked bottom.” Uh, gross.
  2. Apparently, he agrees with Thunberg’s stance. Thunberg called for “immediate drastic annual emission cuts” at COP26 and criticized the event as a “two-week-long celebration of business as usual and blah, blah, blah” used to “create loopholes to benefit themselves.” She’s completely right about that, and Clarkson himself admits that. However, he took issue with the fact that she protested at all, calling it “pointless.”
  3. I guess we should all just accept that the planet is destroyed and get on with it? At least according to Clarkson. “I simply don’t get the Thunberg phenomenon. She has no knowledge of how the world works, no manners and no letters after her name because instead of going to school, she’s been busy sailing round the world so she can be mardy and abusive to grownups,” he said.
  4. The idea that standard school = education is ridiculous. Clarkson is trying to delegitimize everything Thunberg is saying by insisting that the only way she could know what she’s talking about is… going to high school. Where environmental science isn’t particularly taught, certainly not on a deep level. See how he’s earned that Grade-A twat label?
  5. Why is he talking about Thunberg’s “bottom” anyway? This is perhaps the biggest issue of all: why is a 61-year-old man talking about spanking an 18-year-old woman’s “bottom” as, I don’t know, punishment (???) for speaking out about climate change? “What she needs is a smacked bottom. Here’s a tip, Greta: lecturing me on what needs to be done is pointless. It’d be like standing in my bedroom every morning ordering me to wear clothes. I know already,” he said.
  6. Clarkson decided to throw in some good ol’ xenophobia as well. Not one to be outdone by creepy comments alone, he then suggested Thunberg should turn her ire towards China, completely ignoring the fact that Thunberg regularly calls out ALL world leaders for not doing more about climate change. “What you should be doing instead is cycling to countries where people are perhaps less aware of what should be done. China for example. That I’d like to see,” he said. “Greta standing outside Zhongnanhai with her parka and her Glastonbury backpack and her microphone, lecturing the leaders about their policies on coal and trees and so on.”
  7. He’s been facing understandable backlash about his comments. After the interview was published, people took to social media to express their very “WTF?” thoughts on Clarkson’s comments. “What is it about Greta Thunberg that makes all old guys get angry and defensive? Brilliant to see so many young people in Glasgow caring about this planet,” one person wrote. Another remarked: “There’s a creepy shivery dirty old man weirdness to Jeremy Clarkson’s attempt at humor this week in his rage at Greta Thunberg!”

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill