A former colleague of TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson has claimed he went on strike as a trainee reporter with a local weekly in the 1970s.
The Top Gear presenter sparked outrage on Wednesday when he said public sector workers who went out on strike should be shot in front of their families.
The BBC has since been forced to apologise for the comments, made on The One Show.
Now a former colleague on the Rotherham Advertiser has claimed that Mr Clarkson joined the picket line outside the paper’s offices in 1979 when journalists took nationwide industrial action over pay and working conditions.
Former journalist Richard Thompstone told the Daily Telegraph: “He’s obviously forgotten about the time he went out on strike.
“When a junior reporter on his home town weekly the Rotherham Advertiser he joined the NUJ picket line.
“I was on the Sheffield Morning Telegraph at the time and remember him on the picket line in Rotherham.
“How things could have turned out differently if there’d been someone with a shotgun.”
Les Payne a sports journalist who worked with Mr Clarkson at the newspaper told the Telegraph all staff had joined the walkout.
He said: “Everyone in the building went on strike. The pay was very bad at that time and there was a lot of very strong feeling on the subject throughout the newsroom.”
Mr Clarkson has not responded to the claims.
In Wednesday’s interview on the current affairs talk show he was asked what he would do with strikers to which he replied: “I would have them all shot.
“I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.
“I mean how dare they go on strike when they have these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed, while the rest of us have to work for a living.”
An apology issued by the BBC said that Clarkson sometimes overstepped the mark in his quest for “comic” value.