Richard Hammond has denied accusations of homophobia, saying that he is in no way “anti-gay”.
The Grand Tour star and former Top Gear presenter was recently criticised for saying that he doesn’t understand why people feel the need to come out. He had previously faced a backlash after equating eating ice cream with being gay.
Hammond has now told Newsweek: “I entirely reject any criticism of me being anti-gay. That’s just not the case… The very last thing I am is in any way anti-gay. And I said I believe that love is love is love”
Acknowledging that there are “places in the world where it’s difficult for people to be who they are”, Hammond said that he had been referring to the more progressive western society where homosexuality is “no big deal” and not “controversial”.
“Perhaps the point I was trying to make was that sometimes, for older generations it’s been a very different journey to being able to be honest about themselves and they’ve had to fight for it,” Hammond said.
“Whereas there is, and I very much hope so, a generation for whom it isn’t really such an issue. They’re not going to be persecuted on the grounds of their sexuality or miss out on opportunities. They can simply be who they are, and that’s how the world should be.”
Hammond added: “There are people who are genuinely homophobic and they would disagree with my view that love is love and people are who they are.”
The star had been speaking to the Sunday Times when he said: “It may be because I live in a hideously safe and contained middle-class world, where a person’s sexuality is not an issue, but when I hear of people in the media coming out, I think, why do they even feel the need to mention it?”
“It is so old-fashioned to make a big deal of it. That isn’t even an interesting thing to say at a dinner party any more,” Hammond added at the time.