Jeremy Clarkson’s TV outburst in which he said striking workers “should be shot” has led to more than 21,000 complaints to the BBC.
The Top Gear host – who made his comments during BBC1’s on Wednesday – has since apologised, together with the BBC.
The incident led to condemnation by union leaders and politicians, with Prime Minister David Cameron branding the presenter’s comments “silly”.
Clarkson said his comments were not meant to have been taken seriously, as he made his apology on Thursday.
But in an interview with The Sun yesterday he appeared to be taking the matter less than seriously when he also apologised to sparrows, after saying he did not like them during the same interview. The BBC that the number of complaints about his remarks had reached 21,335 yesterday morning.
In a statement on Thursday, Clarkson said: “I didn’t for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously – as I believe is clear if they’re seen in context.
The BBC said the item “wasn’t perfectly judged”.
Clarkson’s gaffe came as he appeared on TV on the evening of Britain’s biggest public sector strikes for 30 years.
Speaking about the strikers, he said: “I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.”
The Unison union had called on the corporation to sack the presenter over the “appalling” comments.
General secretary Dave Prentis had said: “Such disgusting statements have no place on our TV screens.”