Jeremy Clarkson denies he is homophobic, and yet continues to mock and demean the LGBT+ community with his words.
The presenter of The Grand Tour (and previously Top Gear) is no stranger to controversy.
In his many years of celebrity, he has made far too many jokes with LGBT+ people as the punchline – though Clarkson insists he is not homophobic.
In case you’re not sure where Clarkson stands on respecting LGBT+ people, here are just a few incidents that spring to mind.
1. When The Grand Tour was accused of homophobia by Will Young.
In 2019, Clarkson and his co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May came under fire for mocking the Jeep Wrangler and saying it’s popular with LGBT+ people.
Clarkson said the car was typically bought by “people who like cruising the streets of San Francisco and Key West and Brighton and Sydney”.
He continued: “What is it, lesbian, bacon, transgender?”
This was followed by a number of cheap shots from Hammond, who said: “You should have gone the whole hog… maybe some nice chaps, suede but ventilated at the back.
“And that [pink] shirt, you’ve picked up that colour – have you been getting advice?”
There was then a montage to the Weather Girls classic, “It’s Raining Men”.
He received a huge backlash, including Will Young calling the trio out for being “SO uncomfortable with their sexuality that they reference in some lame way a Wrangler Jeep being a gay man’s car. It’s f***cking pathetic and actually homophobic.”
2. When Jeremy Clarkson said he couldn’t be homophobic because he watches ‘lesbians on the internet’.
In an unsurprisingly blasé response to Will Young’s criticism, Jeremy Clarkson said he couldn’t be homophobic, defending his actions in a column for The Sun.
He wrote: “Many gay people who’d seen the show said they couldn’t see a problem. None of my leftie friends could either. One even said I should tell [Will Young] to stop being so gay. I won’t do that though.”
He continued: “Instead I will apologise to Will for causing him some upset and reassure him that I know I’m not homophobic as I very much enjoy watching lesbians on the internet.”
3. That time he apologised for sharing a photo of himself with a sign saying ‘gay c**t’.
The presenter tweeted an image in 2014 showing him asleep on a plane with a sign saying “gay c**t” held up next to him. Co-presenter James May can also be seen smiling in the photo.
The caption read: “Sadly, I fell asleep on the plane.”
The photo was retweeted over 26,000 times, but followers were quick to respond, saying they were offended by them using gay in a negative context “as some kind of insult”.
Others came to his defense, with one tweeting: “Get a f**king life it’s called banter.”
He responded to the backlash, tweeting: “I have deleted my last tweet and would like to apologise profusely to anyone who I upset while I was asleep.”
4. Of course, Jeremy Clarkson once said ‘transgender issues’ drove him ‘nuts’.
In an issue of his Sunday Times column in 2016, Jeremy Clarkson talked about a story he’d heard of young trans girl who had been living in her true gender since she was three years old.
The column was titled “Transgender issues are driving me nuts” and he argued that “her parents had simply indulged this whim”.
He wrote: “As far as I was concerned, men who want to be women were only really to be found on the internet or in the seedier bits of Bangkok. They were called ladyboys, and in my mind they were nothing more than the punchline in a stag night anecdote.”
Hitting out at the parents, he also claimed they should not “be allowed to poison the mind of a child” and were living “a lunatic life”.
“I was told there are 650,000 people living in Britain today with some kind of gender ‘issue'”, he continued. “Well, I just sat there shaking my head, because the simple fact is: there aren’t.”
Many LGBT+ activists and celebrities slammed his comments on Twitter, including trans activist Paris Lees and Bake Off‘s Matt Lucas.
5. In another episode of The Grand Tour, he joked about having a ‘transgender operation’.
A 2019 episode of The Grand Tour showed Clarkson joking that he had undergone a “transgender operation” after going waist-deep into a cold river in Mongolia.
In the hosts’ journey across the Asian country, one of their makeshift cars got stuck in a body of water. Clarkson had to go into the water and yelled: “Holy s**t! I’ve just had a transgender operation!”
His co-presenters did not seem to react to the comment in the episode.
6. When he compared gender-neutral bathrooms to ‘urinals for Klingons’.
In 2016, then-speaker for the House of Commons John Bercow proposed that gender-neutral bathrooms should be provided in parliament.
He said it would be beneficial for numerous people, including “for single dads with daughters, single mums with sons, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, and adults with ageing parents who may be disabled.”
Clarkson – of course – did not like the proposal, calling it “part of an ongoing struggle for our leaders to completely detach themselves from reality”.
The column continued: “There are no transgender MPs that I’m aware of. So why use taxpayers’ money to provide a facility that isn’t necessary? You might as well install urinals for Klingons.”
And he didn’t stop there, adding a random jab at gay and trans men: “It’s all very well fighting for a man’s right to have babies. But where’s the foetus going to gestate? In a box?”
7. Jeremy Clarkson can’t stop describing cars as ‘gay’
Will straight men ever tire of calling inanimate objects gay? It seems not.
On an episode of Top Gear, an audience member called the Daihatsu Copen as “a bit gay”. Clarkson agreed with the comment, calling the car “very ginger beer”, which is rhyming slang for queer.
Media watchdog Ofcom criticised Clarkson’s comments saying that although apparently gay can be used to mean “foolish, stupid and socially inappropriate, or disapproved of and lame”, this instance was clearly offensive to LGBT+ people. Thanks for that, Ofcom.
8. When he tweeted at a fudge factory that he and Richard Hammond were ‘packers’.
The tweet had a photo of Clarkson and Hammond standing outside the Margaret River Fudge Factory in Western Australia.
In both a nod to the famous slur and his recent firing from the BBC, the caption read: “We have got jobs at last. Here. As packers.”
A Stonewall spokesperson said: “We can’t quite see Clarkson in the confectionery industry, maybe it’s the sour taste that his racist and homophobic slurs leave. All we can see him packing up at the moment is his career.”