Jeremy Clarkson blasts USA as 'not a civilised country' as he makes stance clear on death penalty debate

Jeremy Clarkson blasts USA as 'not a civilised country' as he makes stance clear on death penalty debate

WATCH HERE: Jeremy Clarkson takes part in filming for Clarkson's Farm season 4

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 20/02/2024

- 12:13

The Clarkson's Farm host shared his thoughts on the first execution via nitrogen gas in the States

Jeremy Clarkson has pulled no punches with his thoughts on the USA's approach to capital punishment.

In his latest column, Clarkson blasted the death penalty as "bonkers" as he referred to the story of Alabama death row inmate, Kenneth Eugene Smith.

Smith was the first person killed using nitrogen gas - a process which saw prison officials strap a mask to his face and administer the pure gas, prompting nitrogen hypoxia.

He had been scheduled to die via lethal injection in November 2022 but the procedure went wrong which led to a rescheduled date with a new method of death on January 25, 2024.

Smith's death has hit headlines across the globe due to reports that the use of nitrogen gas went awry and took over 20 minutes to kill Smith, prompting calls that it was an inhumane method of execution.

Clarkson has waded into the debate, writing to his fans that he staunchly believes "we should not have a death penalty".

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson, who stars in The Grand Tour, has shared his thoughts on capital punishment


Delving into his reasoning, he went on: "Because let’s face it, a state should not be entrusted with the power of life and death when it can’t even mend potholes."

Turning his attention to the USA, Clarkson penned in the Times: "All of the people in all of the world’s properly civilised countries recognise this. Which of course brings us on to America.

"America is not a properly civilised country, so as a result, 27 of the 50 states allow its judges to sentence a person to death.

"And I can’t really get my head round the reasoning, especially when the methods of execution are so gormlessly inefficient and mad."

Kenneth Smith, who was convicted of a 1988 murder-for-hire\u200b

Kenneth Smith, who was convicted of a 1988 murder-for-hire, was executed with nitrogen gas


The Grand Tour star then delved into the details of Smith's case before reeling off exactly why other methods such as the electric chair were "bonkers" and "unreliable".

Clarkson went on to poke fun at the paradoxical notion held by many Americans that executions must be "somehow humane" before offering his own solution.

"So how’s this for an idea: catch the murderer, try him, and if he’s found guilty, put him in a prison. That’s the best idea, surely, unless he’s dropped some litter, obviously," Clarkson joked.

Among other critics of the nitrogen gas method was Smith's "spiritual adviser" who was in attendance on the day of his death.

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson has branded the death penalty as 'bonkers'


He told USA Today that "anyone who claims that this [Smith's execution] was anything short of torture is not just mistaken, they are a dangerous liar".

And a lawsuit has been lodged by an Alabama death row inmate which alleges that Smith's execution was "a human experiment that officials botched miserably".

A witness had also told the BBC that Smith "thrashed violently on the gurney and the execution took around 25 minutes" and it was condemned by the United Nations.

However, Alabama has defended the method and said the process had been completed humanely.

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