“If a few other things in your life go south, then the abuse—and it is abuse, it’s not criticism—by the time people are just sending you messages, not even on the back of content, just saying ‘you’re a prick, you’ve ruined Top Gear for me, I’ll never forgive you,’ once they’re doing that, that is abuse,” Harris said. “And if you’re in a good place, and the sun’s out, and the rest of your life is rosy, you can see that, and you can ignore it. Or, as is more likely the case, you won’t see it because you won’t go looking for it because your life is so busy and positive you don’t need to look at the messages.”
“But when you’re sat there with a glass of whiskey one night, ‘oh woe is me,’ and you read the messages and you’re like,” he says, grimacing. “So I did pick up the phone, go and see someone, and I had to sit down. And y’know what, I’m still doing that now. Not because I’m in a really bad place, but because I need it because it’s relentlessly negative.”
While the BBC has struggled to fill the boots left by its acclaimed car show’s former hosts, none of them deserve the kind of toxicity the internet can produce. It’s also worth reminding anyone who has sent Harris a rude message about his Top Gear performance that the show’s former hosts haven’t exactly struck gold with their Amazon-exclusive The Grand Tour. Most of the series has so far been largely forgettable, and it has taken time for Clarkson, Hammond, and May to find their footing again. And anyone who has given them patience should extend at least as much to the BBC‘s spring chickens.
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