The popular BBC2 series Top Gear came under fire when The Mirror reported that the show denied Simon Reeves, 26, and his partner admittance citing a rule forcing gender parity in audience makeup. The show’s rule stipulated that audiences be “50% male and 50% female,” so the series turned down Reeves's application for tickets.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Reeves told The Mirror. “Top Gear is the blokiest show on telly but we weren’t allowed unless we took a couple of female friends. ... It seems unfair that a married heterosexual couple are the ‘ideal’ applicants but same sex couples have no chance whatsoever.” Reeves opined, “It sounds like something [host] Jeremy Clarkson came up with to ensure he didn’t have to put up with any gays.”
The Telegraph is reporting that the BBC has responded to claims of discrimination. An unidentified BBC spokesman denied the allegations saying, “We do not — absolutely do not — discriminate against same sex couples,” she said. “The whole implication that Top Gear is in any way homophobic is completely wrong. The decision to have a balance of men and women in the audience was taken by the BBC back in 2002. Jeremy had nothing to do with it.”
The tickets are issued in pairs, but the spokesman added, “We don’t ask people to apply as a couple, we ask them to apply as people.”