Who knew? According to former Top Gear host Richard Hammond, men who eat ice cream are actually gay.
The British TV presenter has been criticised for making the absurd remark, probably intended as a joke, in the latest episode of his Amazon motoring show, The Grand Tour.
It came about when Hammond reacted to a comment by co-host Jeremy Clarkson, who said of a Rolls Royce: “The only problem is that in one of those, you couldn’t enjoy a chocolate Magnum ice-cream.”
Hammond responded: “It’s all right, I don’t eat ice cream. It’s something to do with being straight.”
When the audience laughed and clapped, Clarkson asked: “Why are you applauding him? What do you mean? You’re saying all children are homosexual?”
Hammond continued: “No, but… There’s nothing wrong with it, but a grown man eating an ice-cream… It’s that way, rather than that way…”
Hammond’s comments led to a social media backlash, including a tweet by the Wall’s Ice Cream company, which said: “Hey @RichardHammond, it doesn’t matter what flavour you prefer, ice cream is for everyone!”
Neil Milan, former violinist for the British electronic group Clean Bandit, contributed: “Homophobia on a show about cars, the most classic white elephant of pathetic threatened masculinity, is so fucking tragic @RichardHammond.”
He added: “When even Jeremy clarkson finds your bigotry baffling you know you’re an idiotic prick @RichardHammond.”
Speaking to the BBC, LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “It’s a perverse world when everyday pleasures like ice cream becomes the butt of homophobic innuendo…
“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.”
Tatchell advised Hammond: “Stop being such a silly boy! Grow up! I mean really, the idea that there’s something gay about eating ice cream is just frankly absurd.”
Hammond himself hasn’t yet responded to the furore.