Ice cream is one of the world’s most popular desserts. In fact, the average American will have eaten ice cream more than 28 times before the year’s end. But one British television host does not consume the frozen treat, and it’s not because he’s lactose intolerant.
Richard Hammond, who co-hosts “The Grand Tour” on Amazon Prime with fellow “Top Gear” alums Jeremy Clarkson and James May, faced backlash after making a comment insinuating that only gay men eat ice cream.
In the episode titled, “Happy Finnish Christmas,” which aired on Dec. 23, the three hosts look at the interior of a Rolls Royce in front of a live audience.
Clarkson, referencing the pristine quality of the vehicle, says, “The only problem is that in one of those, you couldn’t enjoy a chocolate Magnum ice-cream.”
In response, Hammond says, “Sir, I don’t eat ice cream. It’s something to do with being straight.”
Clarkson and May exchanged baffled looks while a few audience members laughed and applauded. Clarkson quickly told them to stop clapping and called Hammond out.
“What do you mean? … You’re saying all children are homosexual?”
The stage was tense as Hammond had no qualms about explaining his logic, ever so eloquently.
“Ice cream is a bit, you know,” Hammond said. “There’s nothing wrong with it, but a grown man eating an ice cream… it’s that way, rather than that way.”
Right. It’s so clear now.
A spokesman for Stonewall, an LGBT charity, said that Hammond’s logic and words were belittling and simply ridiculous.
“Stonewall trains teachers to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic slurs like these, so to hear this sort of language on television is extremely disappointing and sends the wrong message to young people.”
Peter Tatchell, a human rights campaigner, also responded to the incident, saying that Hammond is using this sort of language to appeal to a bigoted audience.
“It is a perverse world when an everyday pleasure like ice cream becomes the butt of homophobic innuendo,” said Tatchell. “That Richard Hammond thinks he needs to boast his heterosexuality is weird … His pandering to prejudice is bad enough but the audience applause makes it worse.”
A number of people, celebrities included, took to social media to criticize Hammond.
Olly Alexander, of British electronic pop group Years and Years, tweeted, “Excuse me while I gag on my Cornetto.”
No one from “The Grand Tour” has responded to the backlash.