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A 2012 Facebook image showing the motoring journalist posing with two shotguns surfaced online, shortly after he was announced as one of the new presenters on the BBC Two show on Thursday (11 February).
However, Rory has insisted that the photo was taken during a clay pigeon shooting activity - something which is pretty evident from the background setting.
Taking to Twitter to address the image, he wrote: "Love how the web is going nuts over this pic. Team building clay pigeon shooting is NOT gangster! "
Love how the web is going nuts over this pic. Team building clay pigeon shooting is NOT gangster! pic.twitter.com/owTLWkMAH1— Rory Reid (@rory79) February 11, 2016
He also thanked ‘Top Gear’ viewers for their support of his new role.
“What a day. Thanks for the supportive messages,” he tweeted. “Sorry I couldn’t reply to everyone. I’m going to try to do you proud. Goodnight.”
What a day. Thanks for the supportive messages. Sorry I couldn’t reply to everyone. I’m going to try to do you proud. Goodnight.— Rory Reid (@rory79) February 12, 2016
Chris Harris faced embarrassment following his appointment, when it was revealed that he had previously claimed a ‘Top Gear’ reboot wouldn’t work without Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.
Chris shared his thoughts on the future of the BBC motoring series in a blog on jalopnik.com in March last year, writing: “Does TG work without Jeremy? Probably not,” he wrote. “Does it work without Richard and James too – absolutely not.
“I think the BBC would be completely mad to try and maintain the same format with three new people, but I don’t doubt it will try.”
He continued: “I genuinely think that if James and Richard choose not to continue then the format has to die with them. No one can ever do with it what they have, because they defined it in the first place.”
The all-new ‘Top Gear’ will return to BBC Two on Sunday 8 May.