Hammond, known as ‘The Hamster’ on the show, called Mexicans “lazy, feckless and flatulent”, along with other derogatory comments from co-presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May.
In an interview with Metro, Hammond said he was ‘intentionally being ridiculous’, adding: “I regret any misunderstanding or upset that was caused. It was clearly intended as a joke. I was trying to portray myself as actually believing the images of Mexicans I received from Westerns were accurate.”
Amongst thousands of complaints to the BBC, the Mexican Ambassador called the remarks ‘offensive, xenophobic and humiliating’, with comedian Steve Coogan lambasting the trio in a Guardian article for their lazy stereotyping.
The BBC however defended the comments in a public statement, declaring: “We are sorry if we have offended some people, but jokes centred on national stereotyping are a part of Top Gear’s humour, and indeed a robust part of our national humour… When we do it, we are being rude, yes, and mischievous, but there is no vindictiveness behind the comments.”