The former "Top Gear" presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticized the 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg in an op-ed article in the UK tabloid The Sun on Friday, following her address at the United Nations Climate Action Summit.
Clarkson described Thunberg's speech as a "full-on adolescent meltdown," called her a "spoilt brat," and told her to "be a good girl" and "shut up."
Clarkson was sacked from "Top Gear" in 2015 after the BBC concluded an investigation into "an unprovoked physical and verbal attack" by him against a member of the show's production staff. He has also made various offensive gaffes over the years.
Thunberg, on the other hand, has emerged — at 16 years old — as the face of global action on climate change.
The former "Top Gear" presenter Jeremy Clarkson lambasted the climate activist Greta Thunberg in a scathing op-ed article in the UK tabloid The Sun on Friday, following the 16-year-old's address at the United Nations Climate Action Summit.
Thunberg gave an emotional speech chastising world leaders and imploring them to actually do something to address climate change.
"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean," she said. "Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."
Thunberg was celebrated across the world for her climate activism. But Clarkson described her UN address as a "full-on adolescent meltdown."
"How dare we?" Clarkson wrote. "No. How dare you sail to America on a carbon fibre yacht that you didn't build which cost £15 million, that you didn't earn, and which has a back-up diesel engine that you didn't mention."
Clarkson went on to call Thunberg a "spoilt brat," adding: "When you told your mum and dad to stop using planes and give up meat, they didn't behave like sane parents and ignore you. They actually said, 'Yes, dear.' And did."
He concluded: "Many thousands of people who you had the temerity to blame this week are trying to do exactly what you want. So be a good girl, shut up and let them get on with it. And no. You cannot stay out past ten. And you cannot go out in a skirt that short."
While he was once famous globally for his job as a "Top Gear" presenter, Clarkson has been bogged down by controversy. In 2015, for instance, Clarkson was sacked after the BBC concluded an investigation into "an unprovoked physical and verbal attack" by him against a member of the show's production staff. He now hosts Amazon's "Grand Tour," which is in its third season.
He's made a slew of offensive gaffes over the years, such as joking that killing prostitutes is a pastime for professional truck drivers (prompting a Labour MP to demand he be fired); calling former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is blind in his left eye, a "one-eyed Scottish idiot"; saying that television producers have "black Muslim lesbians" on programs to balance the number of white heterosexual men; and seemingly promoting drunk driving by sipping a gin and tonic while driving during an episode.
Much of Clarkson's obnoxiousness is performative — part of his image, which he carefully crafts. His newspaper columns for The Sun and The Times deliberately troll liberal readers.
Thunberg, on the other hand, has — as a teenager — become the face of global action on climate change, spurring an estimated 4 million people in 161 countries to take to the streets last month in what was likely the largest climate-change demonstration in history.
She started the "Fridays for Future" movement in 2018, encouraging students to skip school to demand action from their governments, and has since delivered impassioned speeches and led protests in an effort to spark substantial change.
In March, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for having launched what the Norwegian lawmaker Freddy Andre Ovstegard described to The Guardian as "a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace."