Former Top Gear host James May denies comparing ‘oppressive’ Pride flag display to Nazi symbols

Former Top Gear presenter James May has denied comparing LGBTQ+ Pride flags to those of the Nazis after describing the Pride display in London as “authoritarian”. 

The presenter described the flags, part of a display in London’s Regent Street for Pride month, as “too much” and “oppressive”. 

“Pride: while I have observed and admired what you have achieved over my lifetime, may I respectfully suggest that you are borderline guilty of too much bunting (TMB),” he wrote on Twitter/X alongside a photo of the display. 

“It may be seen as authoritarian and therefore oppressive. Please remember that some terrible things, with which you would not wish to be allied, began with TMB. World War Two, for example. Nice flag, though.”

May was criticised for the post, which many took to be comparing the Pride installation with Nazi displays in the lead-up to the Second World War.

“Are you seriously comparing LGBT people with Nazis?” one person asked, to which May replied: “No, relax.”

Replying to a social media user who asked, “whose bunting are you referring to regarding WWII?” May wrote: “The Nazis… but I wasn’t comparing the Pride movement to them. I haven’t connected Pride to the Nazis. I’ve connected excessive bunting with disquiet in some people’s minds.”

Pride: while I have observed and admired what you have achieved over my lifetime, may I respectfully suggest that you are borderline guilty of Too Much Bunting (TMB). It may be seen as authoritarian, and therefore oppressive.

Please remember that some terrible things, with which… pic.twitter.com/DsMcikkaVF

— James May (@MrJamesMay) June 13, 2024

Despite May, who now co-hosts The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime, clarifying his meaning, people still took issue with his claim that LGBTQ+ decorations were “too much”.

One social media media user asked: “Why is it always ‘too much’ when it’s LGBT people celebrating their right to exist and thrive? And why is it always fragile cisgender heterosexuals who feel the need to opine that Pride is ‘too much?’”

Another said: “It’s always nice when straight people try to ‘respectfully’ police our visibility during Pride month. How many flags are we allowed to have? How many is ‘too many?’”

May is not the only former Top Gear presenter to have been criticised for comments about the LGBTQ+ community, with Jeremy Clarkson frequently in hot water.

Most notably, Clarkson was called out for saying he couldn’t be homophobic because he “watches lesbians on the internet”. He was also mocked for saying “transgender issues” drove him “nuts” and that parents of trans children should not “be allowed to poison the mind of a child”.

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