JANET STREET-PORTER: Sorry, Piers I’m with Will Young

Do I hear the sound of a hyena screaming? No, it’s Big Beast Piers Morgan ranting at Will Young, simply because the singer dared to complain about an episode of Grand Tour in which his pals describe the Jeep Wrangler as a vehicle bought by people ‘who like cruising’…and when Hammond suggested that maybe Clarkson needed a new grooming routine and different clothes, Rancid Big Beast retorts ‘maybe some nice suede chaps. Suede, but ventilated at the back’.

To top off the cliché, the Weather Girls’ It’s Raining Men is blasted from the car’s sound system – as a ‘joke’.

The former Top Gear presenters have form when it comes to sneering at gay people, along with it’s casual ‘fun racism’. In 2006 Clarkson described a Diahatsu Copen as ‘a bit gay’. In 2016, Hammond said he didn’t eat ice cream because he was ‘straight’. These feeble attempts at irony are true clunkers, the sound of white men of a certain age and limited sexual experience trying to be witty, and failing dismally. These days, that kind of humour is unacceptable.

Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters insinuated gay men drive Jeeps and played ‘It’s Raining Men’ through the speakers 

Piers Morgan accused Will Young of over-reacting after Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters blasted 'It's Raining Men' from their Jeeps and made inappropriate jokes. Pictured: Charlotte Hawkins and Piers Morgan 'Good Morning Britain'

Piers Morgan accused Will Young of over-reacting after Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters blasted 'It's Raining Men' from their Jeeps and made inappropriate jokes. Pictured: Charlotte Hawkins and Piers Morgan 'Good Morning Britain'

Piers Morgan accused Will Young of over-reacting after Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters blasted ‘It’s Raining Men’ from their Jeeps and made inappropriate jokes. Pictured: Charlotte Hawkins and Piers Morgan ‘Good Morning Britain’

Piers Morgan accused Will Young of over-reacting but Janet Street-Porter has stood up for the singer saying it is not acceptable to mock and stereotype gay people 

Piers Morgan accused Will Young of over-reacting but Janet Street-Porter has stood up for the singer saying it is not acceptable to mock and stereotype gay people 

Piers Morgan accused Will Young of over-reacting but Janet Street-Porter has stood up for the singer saying it is not acceptable to mock and stereotype gay people 

To be serious for a moment, the number of people over 16 who identify as Lesbian, Gay or bisexual in the UK, has risen enormously in the last three years to around 1.1 million, 2% of the population. Young people make up the biggest group, and the number who say they are LGB has increased by at least a third in the last three years. Many gay or trans kids will be scared of reprisals and bullying. They deserve support and sympathy, not snotty bigotry. Inane derogatory remarks about gay cars are out of step with modern society.

I hate the Grand Tour, but it’s not aimed at women like me who drive a Fiat Panda (very perky acceleration, by the way), who gave up classic cars decades ago in favour of anonymity and fuel efficiency. I don’t need to drive a car that’s an extension of my genitals. I am confident in my own personality and don’t require four wheels and a gear box to thrust on my behalf.

I accept that Grand Tour and it’s three male presenters have millions of fans all over the world. To them, it represents extravagant escapism, the suggestion that if you can’t get the starring role in the next James Bond movie, you can drive a particular car and feel pretty damn good about yourself, no matter how pale, stale and saggy you might be.

Janet Street Porter has backed Will Young after Piers Morgan accused him of over-reacting 

Janet Street Porter has backed Will Young after Piers Morgan accused him of over-reacting 

Janet Street Porter has backed Will Young after Piers Morgan accused him of over-reacting 

I have just returned from a few weeks in Australia, a country where half the male population have guts so big they are rivalling the Duchess of Sussex. These men drive four wheel trucks out to their boring houses in suburbia, and at weekends tool about on dirt roads in the Outback trying to pretend they are cowboys or stockmen. They drive cars engineered to climb mountains but on Sydney motorways. Living the dream! These men eat massive steaks and love Jeremy Clarkson, he is their living god, and here’s the reason why . . .

Men love cars, because they never answer back. They never criticise your floppy belly or moan about your taste in floral shirts. Cars don’t tell you to order salad not chips or demand you cancel that second bottle of vino. Cars put you in pole position, in control of the proceedings – something these three heterosexual presenters of a certain age would never achieve if they were dropped in a bar full of desirable women. You turn a key or press a knob, and a car (unlike your willy after a night out) will (usually) roar into life. Yes, it’s easy to see why plain, unsatisfied, self-loathing men love Clarkson and co.

To be fair, a lot of women love the show too. But what’s not acceptable in 2019 is tragic banter in which cars are described as ‘gay’, as if all the gay people in the world, when offered any car in the showroom, would opt for a Wrangler Jeep. Just like 99% of gay men do not arrange their cushions in a certain way or wear tight shirts or choose a cockpoo over a staffie for a pet.

Will Young wrote ‘I DON’t wear pink shirts. I DON’t wear arseless chaps…it’s sad and shaming and for f***’s sake, grow up.’

Singer Will Young was livid at the episode and called the actions of Clarkson and co 'sad and shaming' 

Singer Will Young was livid at the episode and called the actions of Clarkson and co 'sad and shaming' 

Singer Will Young was livid at the episode and called the actions of Clarkson and co ‘sad and shaming’ 

Will Young criticised the show on Twitter after gay people were stereotyped by the presenters 

Will Young criticised the show on Twitter after gay people were stereotyped by the presenters 

Will Young criticised the show on Twitter after gay people were stereotyped by the presenters 

He described the comments as ‘archaic tripe’, referring to the three presenters as ‘SO uncomfortable in their sexuality’. This clearly struck a nerve with Piers Morgan, who claimed Young was guilty of ‘a repulsive over-reaction’ and added he thought his music was ‘repulsive’ too.

I have always found Will Young charming, emotionally honest and delightful company, everything Piers is not, in my opinion. Could this furore signal the end of Big Beast entertainment? The end of fake-machismo and the rampant male ego in prime time? Do I hear the roar as an endangered species is finally cornered and hunted down to extinction? If only. But I can dream. 

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