Richard Hammond has prompted a backlash after suggesting that men who eat ice cream are gay on the most recent episode of The Grand Tour.
The 47-year-old made the comment in an exchange on the sixth episode of the motoring show he co-hosts with Jeremy Clarkson and James May, which was titled “Happy Finnish Christmas”. It was the sixth episode of the first season, which was broadcast on 23 December via Amazon Prime.
Speaking in front of a live audience, Clarkson pointed out that you “couldn’t enjoy a chocolate Magnum ice cream” in the interior of a Volvo with white leather seats.
“It’s alright, I don’t eat ice cream,” Hammond said. “It’s something to do with being straight.”
Clarkson and Hammond appeared slightly baffled while members of the audience cheered and applauded.
“Why are you applauding him?” Clarkson asked the crowd. “What do you mean... you’re saying all children are homosexual?”
“Ice cream is a bit... you know,” Hammond continued, saying: “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. It’s easy. It’s in front of you.”
Clarkson appeared to try and steer the conversation back to his joke about chocolate and the white leather seats, making a comment about “the chocolate thingy” in a 99 ice cream cone.
However, Hammond seemed to think that he was agreeing with him, saying: “My case rests!”
The reaction on social media was largely one that condemned Hammond’s comments.
Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander, who has worked with Stonewall on anti-bullying campaigns, tweeted: “Excuse me while I gag on my Cornetto.”
Musician Neil Milan tweeted: “Homophobia on a show about cars, the most classic white elephant of pathetic threatened masculinity is so f***ing tragic.”
Clarkson made a joke in the first episode that he could not be fired because “we’re on the internet, which means I could pleasure a horse”.
So far Hammond has not commented on the backlash over his comments.