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The Chop: Sky pulls TV woodwork show over contestant's tattoos

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image copyrightSky History
image captionPromotional image for The Chop featuring Rick Edwards, Lee Mack and carpenter William Hardie

A TV contest for carpenters has been pulled from Sky schedules over concerns about one of its contestant's tattoos.

One participant, Darren Lumsden, was accused of having a Nazi symbol on his face after the Sky History channel posted a clip from the show online.

The channel initially said the tattoos had "no political or ideological meaning whatsoever".

However it then said it would not air the programme until it had investigated their "nature and meaning".

The Chop: Britain's Top Woodworker, hosted by Lee Mack and Rick Edwards, began on Thursday, with the second episode due to be aired this Thursday.

The series sees 10 contestants compete over nine weeks of carpentry challenges.

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In the promotional clip, Mr Lumsden, from North Somerset, is seen with the number 88 inked on his cheek. As H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, the number can be used by white supremacists as numerical code for "Heil Hitler".

In a statement on Tuesday, Sky History said his tattoos denoted "significant events in his life and have no political or ideological meaning whatsoever". It said the number 88 on Mr Lumsden's cheek referred to 1988, the year of his father's death.

Viewers also raised concerns about some of his other markings, claiming they included other numerals that could be associated with white supremacist slogans.

Irish historian Elizabeth Boyle wrote on Twitter that she could see at least five potential Nazi and white power tattoos on his face.

'Against racism and hate speech'

In its initial statement, the channel said producers had carried out "extensive background checks" on all contestants and "confirmed Darren has no affiliations or links to racist groups, views or comments". It added: "Any use of symbols or numbers is entirely incidental and not meant to cause harm or offence."

However, that statement was deleted and a separate announcement said: "While we further investigate the nature, and meaning, of Darren's tattoos, we have removed the video featuring him from our social media pages, and will not be broadcasting any episodes of The Chop: Britain's Top Woodworker until we have concluded that investigation.

"Sky History stands against racism and hate speech of all kinds."

Mr Lumsden has not responded to BBC requests for comment. Speaking to the Bristol Post about his tattoos in an article published on Monday, before the furore erupted, he said: "I have my daughter on the back of my head and my son on my cheek.

"When some people first meet me they are a bit shocked, admittedly. But they soon warm to me after a few minutes."

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Related Topics

  • Lee Mack
  • Tattoos
  • Television
  • Sky

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