The new iteration of BBC’s Top Gear made a pro-LGBTI gesture when they painted two cars recently used in Brunei with rainbow colors.
At the end of March, two of the show’s new co-hosts filmed a segment in the country. Filming took place right before Brunei announced its anti-LGBTI execution law.
In the segment, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness drove across Borneo. With the aid of Gurkha soldiers, they drove to the Sultan of Brunei’s palace. The Sultan is reportedly a car collector.
‘We would never have filmed in Brunei had the law been announced beforehand,’ Flintoff told the Guardian. ‘Like millions of other people around the world, I utterly condemn Brunei’s actions. No one deserves to be stoned to death, whoever they love. Love is love.’
Flintoff also added that though Brunei has decided not to enforce the law, ‘the threat still stands, and even the threat is an appalling abuse of human rights’.
Why Top Gear painted the cars
Originally, the producers of the reality show contemplated not airing the Brunei segment at all.
‘In the last couple of months we have thought very hard about dropping the film entirely but we shot it before the change in the law, and both the Gurkhas and other Bruneians worked incredibly hard to make it happen,’ Flintoff explained.
‘We don’t want all their efforts to be for nothing. So we’ve decided to go ahead and show it [and] we’ve given the cars a little makeover.’
A BBC spokesperson added: ”This was an issue that both Freddie and Paddy felt very strongly about and asked to address in the show and Top Gear’s producers fully supported them. They would not have travelled to Brunei had these new laws been announced or implemented prior to departure and the sequence would not have been made.’
In 2015, the BBC suspended Clarkson’s contract. Hammond and the third co-host, James May, subsequently left before they all landed at Amazon.
Following this, the show went through numerous new hosts. Flintoff and McGuinness joined fellow host Chris Harris late last year, following the departure of actor Matt LeBlanc. The new hosts promised a ‘different vibe’ on the show.
The BBC also confirmed to GSN the rainbow cars will feature in the studio when the episode airs in July.