FORMER Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond was accused of “mocking and belittling” the gay community yesterday following comments made on TV show Grand Tour in which he suggested that eating ice-cream was “gay.”
Rights organisation Stonewall slammed Mr Hammond, saying in a statement that the comments sent a message that it is OK to bully people who are different.
Stonewall said that “discrimination comes in all shapes, sizes and flavours,” adding that while people still “serve it up,” its campaigning work continues.
Mr Hammond made the remarks in a pre-recorded studio exchange with co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson on the Amazon Prime flagship programme while they were reviewing a car with a white interior.
As Mr Clarkson commented that “you couldn’t enjoy a chocolate Magnum ice cream” in the vehicle, Mr Hammond responded by claiming that he doesn’t eat ice cream as he is straight.
He went on to say: “Ice cream is a bit — you know… There’s nothing wrong with it, but a grown man eating an ice cream — it’s that way rather than that way … I’m right. I can’t believe you can’t see that.”
Top Gear drew regular criticism for its baiting of minorities and was involved in a series of rows, amid calls for it to be taken off air.
In 2011 Mr Hammond became embroiled in a race row after making offensive remarks about Mexicans, which saw the BBC threatened with legal action.
The latest row erupted as Mr Hammond’s remarks were broadcast by Amazon Prime on December 23.
The comments have been widely condemned on social media, with “Andrew” tweeting: “That’s some achievement by Richard Hammond, managing to be the biggest arsehole on a show featuring Jeremy Clarkson.”
Wall’s Ice Cream tweeted a statement that read: “Hey, Richard Hammond, it doesn’t matter what flavour you prefer, ice cream is for everyone!”
And director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation Peter Tatchell slammed the comments as “absurd” and said they “pander to prejudice” in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday.
Amazon had not responded to the Star’s questions at the time of going to press.