Viewers have pointed out that several numbers within the tattoos of contestant Darren Lumsden appeared to have links to white supremacy
Sky History has cancelled its new woodworking show ‘The Chop’ while it investigates one of the show’s contestant’s tattoos after viewers had reported that they appeared to have links to Nazism and white supremacy.
The new competition show, which supposedly hunts for “Britain’s top woodworker” in a similar style of The Great British Bake Off, is hosted by TV presenter Rick Edwards and comedian Lee Mack.
But after a promotional clip for the Sky History show was released on social media platforms featuring the heavily-tattooed contestant Darren Lumsden, users of social media have pointed out that several numbers that had been inked on him had apparent links to white supremacist organisations.
This comes after Facebook has announced that it will be updating its policies on hate speech to explicitly ban Holocaust denial on the platform, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying that he found it “deeply offensive”.
Of the man’s face tattoos covering his face includes the number 88, which is often used by white supremacists as a code for “Heil Hitler”, with H being the eighth letter of the alphabet, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has said.
The numbers 23 and 16 are also tattoos that feature on the side of Mr Lumsden’s head, which are numeric symbol often used by racists to signify “white power”, which also refers to the letter positioning within the alphabet, according to the ADL.
Sky History had initially said that the tattoos on Darren Lumsden “denote significant events” in Mr Lumsden’s life “and have no political or ideological meaning whatsoever”, but the channel has later released a statement that confirms that the show had been cancelled while they investigate.
The channel said: “While we investigate the nature and meaning of Darren’s tattoos we have removed the video featuring him from our social media, and will not be broadcasting any episodes of The Chop until we have concluded that investigation.”
“Sky History stands against racism and hate speech of all kinds.”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism group also criticised Sky History, saying it had made “a terrible mistake” by including a contestant “adorned with what appear to be neo-Nazi tattoos without providing serious evidence to show that the tattoos mean something other than how they appear”.
“These tattoos will be plainly visible to viewers on the show, including younger viewers, which is unacceptable,” it said.
“If Sky History is indeed ‘intolerant of racism’ as it claims, then it must urgently provide a credible clarification or remove the contestant from the programme.”
This comes after two people are believed to have been hit by gunfire after over 20 police officers in Nigeria started firing at demonstrators in the capital city’s Lekki district on Tuesday, witnesses have reported.
Before confirming The Chop had been pulled, the channel had posted several tweets – that have since been deleted – which said: “Darren’s tattoos denote significant events in his life and have no political or ideological meaning whatsoever.”
“Amongst the various numerical tattoos on his body, 1988 is the year of his father’s death.”
“The production team carried out extensive background checks on all the woodworkers taking part in the show, that confirmed Darren has no affiliations or links to racist groups, views or comments.”
“Sky History is intolerant of racism and all forms of hatred and any use of symbols or numbers is entirely incidental and not meant to cause harm or offence.”