TV presenter Richard Hammond has denied accusations of homophobia after he triggered a backlash on social media after he questioned why gay people feel the need to come out publicly.

The 47 year old former ‘Top Gear’ co-host was interviewed last week when he made the comments, saying it was “old-fashioned” to make a big deal about coming out.

“When I hear of people in the media coming out, I think, why do they even feel the need to mention it?” Hammond said in an interview last week with The Times, adding “It is so old-fashioned to make a big deal of it. That isn't even an interesting thing to say at a dinner party anymore.”

Richard HammondRichard Hammond with his wife Amanda in 2016

However, his remarks triggered a strong response from the LGBTQ community, in the light of Stonewall’s research which revealed that nearly half of LGBTQ children in British schools are on the receiving end of bullying.

Hammond had made the comments to The Times last weekend when he was pressed on his remarks in the debut season of Amazon Prime’s ‘The Grand Tour’, when he said the reason he didn’t eat ice cream was “something to do with being straight”.

More: Richard Hammond thought he’d “had it” in ‘The Grand Tour’ horror car smash

“The last thing I am is in any way anti-gay or homophobic because love is life and if you're lucky enough to find someone you love, it doesn't matter,” Hammond said on Thursday (December 7th) in a statement to the Press Association, rowing back on his comments.

“I think what I was saying is my daughter's generation - perhaps in my rather comfortable, middle-class little world - it simply isn't an issue. Coming out isn't an issue. Now I know full well that there are people in parts of the world for who it's a massive issue and my heart goes out to anybody who is wrestling with the need to be themselves, or for the fact they're being persecuted for doing that. The very last thing that I would want to do is make that process difficult for anyone.”

More: Richard Hammond’s injury will definitely affect ‘The Grand Tour’, admits Jeremy Clarkson