International Business

James May: Pride flags are ‘authoritarian’ and ‘oppressive’

Jun 18, 2024 IDOPRESS
Presenter says rows of LGBT symbols over Regent Street are ‘Too Much Bunting’ which he blames for starting the Second World War

James May was criticised for the remarks on social media


James May has branded rainbow flags seen across London for Pride month “authoritarian” and “oppressive”.

The former Top Gear presenter shared his thoughts on social media about the rows of rainbow flags that have been raised over Regent Street,central London,to mark Pride month.

The annual event,held in June,celebrates members of the lesbian,gay,bisexual and transgender communities.

Writing on Twitter,May,61,said: “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 you would not wish to be allied,began with TMB. World War Two,for example. Nice flag,though.”

The Oh Cook! presenter shared the post alongside an image of Pride flag bunting,although the chosen photo appeared to be from 2022.

The bunting used is known as the “progressive” flag,which includes a circle to represent intersex people - those born with a combination of male and female biological traits.

Pride flags over Regent Street earlier this week

Credit: EPA

Some social media users agreed with May,with one person saying: “Less is more when it comes to hanging stuff over streets” and “What an excellent way to put it,James”.

Another user said: “Large corporations and councils are utilising pride and the pride flag as a way to gain traction and monopolise on pride.”

However,others accused the former Grand Tour host of homophobia.

One person wrote: ‘I hope you’re not insinuating that somehow the LGBTQ+ community is somehow in danger of starting WW3 because of some rainbow flags James?’

Mr May replied: “I’m not,no. Stand down.”

He is not the first former Top Gear presenter to get into hot water over humour viewed as offensive towards the LGBT community.

In 2019,Jeremy Clarkson was accused of homophobia by singer Will Young after describing a Jeep Wrangler as a car “bought by people who like cruising the streets of San Francisco and Key West and Brighton and Sydney”.