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James May says he isn’t “running scared of cancel culture” in The Grand Tour: Carnage A Trois

The Grand Tour star says that "everybody is equally open for mockery and derision" on the show.

James May
Published: Monday, 29th November 2021 at 12:01 am

The Grand Tour star James May has said ahead of the upcoming special that while the show isn't "running scared of cancel culture", it does try to be progressive.


May's comments follow the resurfacing of claims by singer Will Young that the Amazon Prime Video series included "homophobic" jokes back in a 2019 episode.

When asked whether he was more conscious about making jokes in The Grand Tour Presents: Carnage A Trois, May told and other press: "I hope we're always careful about the jokes we make because we're not actually trying to alienate people or offend people.

"We make fun of people – that's not quite the same thing. We try to be inclusive in that everybody is equally open for mockery and derision – mainly ourselves, let's be honest," he added. "So I'm not aware that we made any crass homophobic jokes or comments. I hope we didn't, but I'll have to look back at it.

"I don't think we're running scared of cancel culture and all the rest of it but I suppose unconsciously and just like everybody else in the world, we're probably reassessing how we think about things, which is no bad thing in my view because society is a work in progress and it must always move on.

"So we're not entrenched. We haven't dug ourselves in and said, 'No, we're living in the 1970s with 1970s attitudes, make us a cup of tea, love.' We're not doing that. We're actually quite modern people, I think.

"Except for Richard Hammond, who is obviously stuck in about 1955 in his E-Type Jaguar. But yes, on the whole, we're reasonably progressive, I hope."

Back in 2019, Young criticised The Grand Tour for an episode in which May informs Clarkson that the car he's driving is very popular in the gay community, after which Hammond says: "You should have gone the whole hog...maybe some nice chaps, suede but ventilated at the back."

He tweeted at the time, describing the jokes as "pathetic and actually homophobic", while in October this year, he told The Times that Hammond was "the worst one" out of the Grand Tour trio, adding: "The producers chose to make the narrative: Jeremy Clarkson is driving a hairdresser's car. Basically, Jeremy Clarkson is gay."

Addressing the remarks, Hammond told recently: "I made it plain at the time, it was three years ago. I'm not, we're not remotely homophobic in the show and if anything, we're very glad to be in an increasingly inclusive society that welcomes everybody.

"Because gender or sexual orientation shouldn't stand in the way of anything – so that's kind of all I've got to say on it really."


The Grand Tour: Carnage A Trois arrives on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 17th December. 

The Grand Tour series 1-4 are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. You can sign up to Amazon Prime Video for £7.99 a month with a 30-day free trial. For more to watch, check out our TV guide or visit our Drama hub for the latest news and features.

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