Two cars used during filming of Top Gear in Brunei have been painted with Pride flags in a protest at the country’s strict anti-LGBT laws.
The day after the show finished filming in March, the south-east Asian country announced new laws that would impose death by stoning as punishment for gay sex and adultery.
In a bid to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community, the cars — which were originally presented to the Sultan of Brunei after filming in the rainforest — have been painted with the rainbow colours.
Writing in the Guardian, new presenter Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff said the show would never have been filmed in Brunei had the law been announced beforehand.
He said they were only made aware what had happened when they touched down in the UK.
The former England cricketer wrote: “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 said they had considered dropping the film entirely but said “both the Gurkhas and other Bruneians worked incredibly hard to make it happen”.
Following an outcry which saw actor George Clooney and singer Sir Elton John among critics of the new law, Brunei eventually announced that it would not be enforced.
Flintoff said: “Even though it has since been claimed that the laws will not be enforced, the threat still stands, and even the threat is an appalling abuse of human rights.”
The BBC Two show returned for its 27th series on Sunday with Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness joining host Chris Harris.
Fans of the show were impressed with Flintoff and McGuinness’s first outing in the driving seat, with many saying they were the best team since Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.
Many viewers noted the chemistry between the new hosts.
One fan tweeted: “Taken a while, but at last they have it just right.
“The boys naturally flowed and had a feel of genuine friendship that didn’t feel wooden or scripted in any way.”