Last year, BBC's Top Gear was forced to soldier on without its traditional trio of hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. Jeremy Clarkson was fired for reportedly punching a producer, but they found a home on Amazon with their new hit show The Grand Tour. It didn't take long for one of the hosts to find themselves in hot water again, as Richard Hammond recently made a joke on the show that many gay rights supporters and people in the gay community aren't too happy with.
On the sixth episode of Amazon's The Grand Tour, which was released on December 23 and is titled "Happy Finish Christmas," Richard Hammond made a comment, insinuating that it is gay to eat ice cream. When Jeremy Clarkson commented on a Volvo's interior, saying "the only problem is that in one of those, you couldn't enjoy a chocolate Magnum ice cream." Here is what Richard Hammond had to say in response.
"It's alright, I don't eat ice cream. It's something to do with being straight...there's nothing wrong with it. But a grown man eating an ice cream, it's a bit, it's that way rather than that way."
During the scene in the show, it went over well enough in that the audience laughed, but even Jeremy Clarkson and James May sort of took him down a peg for his comment and tried to make him feel ridiculous for saying it. In any case, the damage has been done and people have been ripping into Richard Hammond on social media. LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell spoke with BBC 5 about the comments and was very unhappy about it. Here is what he had to say.
"It's a perverse world when everyday pleasures like ice cream becomes the butt of homophobic innuendo. That Richard Hammond thinks he needs to boast about his heterosexuality is weird and it will get people wondering, 'Why? Why is he saying that?' His pandering to prejudice is bad enough, of course. But the audience applause that he got makes it even worse, and I think it shows that we still have some way to go to end bigoted banter."
Historically speaking, it was Jeremy Clarkson who got the former Top Gear trio in trouble. Punching the producer was just the last straw in a long string incidents that led to him being fired and both James May and Richard Hammond left in a show of solidarity, not because they were fired. At the moment, the producers of The Grand Tour and Richard Hammond have remained silent about the backlash, but they will surely be making a comment at some point.
The Grand Tour has been a massive hit for Amazon, recently becoming the most pirated show in the UK, beating out Game of Thrones who had previously held that honor. Worldwide it still cracks the top ten. The show is also bringing in a lot of legitimate subscribers and it has been picked up for two more seasons, so it is unclear how this could affect things moving forward. It is doubtful he will be fired, but then again, it isn't totally out of the question. Should that happen, it is unclear if Jeremy Clarkson and James May would continue on without him. You can check out the clip for yourself below, as well as some of the fan responses.
🤗 hello & here's the full richard hammond 'ice creams are gay' piece and yeah, it's awful pic.twitter.com/JhDisRsc1Q— Ollie Cole (@ProducerOllie) December 26, 2016
Dear @RichardHammond, casual homophobia has no place in 2016. You're in the public eye on a public TV show. Your voice is heard & it hurts.— James Robert-Moore (@Jamesy_Moo) December 27, 2016
.@RichardHammond HELLO I HAVE BEEN EATING ICE CREAM FOR YEARS AND I'M STILL HETEROSEXUAL WHAT I AM DOING WRONG PLEASE HELP— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) December 27, 2016
Richard Hammond gags while explaining ‘men who eat ice-cream are gay’ on The Grand Tour, ep 6.— Hayden Scott-Baron (@docky) December 26, 2016
Are men that watch this show bigoted weasels? pic.twitter.com/G4W9ziqLch
Richard Hammond thinks grown men who eat ice cream are gay. I think grown men who spend most of their lives fawning over cars are weird.— Parveen Agnihotri (@Parveen_Comms) December 26, 2016