Lee Mack show The Chop cancelled after 'Nazi tattoos' on contestant's face 'could be connected to far-right ideologies'
LEE Mack's new show The Chop has been cancelled after a contestant appeared with "Nazi tattoos" on his face.
Sky History pulled reality competition series The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker off the air last week while the meaning of Darren Lumsden's inkings – which include a large '88' – were investigated.
That investigation has now concluded that the series cannot return to screens because the symbols on Lumsden’s face “could be connected to far-right ideologies and could cause offence.”
An A+E Networks UK spokesman said: “Following an independent investigation, AETN UK has made the decision not to broadcast any further episodes of The Chop on Sky HISTORY.
"A contestant’s tattoos included symbols that could be connected to far-right ideologies and could cause offence; we sincerely apologise for that and we are sorry that our processes did not prompt further investigation at an earlier stage.
“The contestant continues to strenuously deny that he has, or ever had, far-right leanings.
"We are thoroughly reviewing our internal processes following the investigation. AETN UK and Sky HISTORY stand against racism and hate speech of all kinds.”
Last week, the channel released a clip from The Chop: Britain's Top Woodworker – and introduced a man called Darren.
They called him "the Bloke-With-All-The-Tattoos" but some including comedian Katherine Ryan claimed they had spotted neo-Nazi inkings.
A spokesman for Sky History told The Sun last week: "While we further investigate the nature, and meaning, of Darren’s tattoos, we have removed the video featuring him from our social media pages.
"We 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."
According to the Anti-Defamation League, 88 – which appears on the man's cheek – is a white supremacist code for "Heil Hitler".
Their website says: "H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so 88 = HH = Heil Hitler." It is said to be among the most common of white supremacist symbols.
However, Darren insisted that 1988 is the year of his father's death and said he does not have Nazi tattoos.
Viewers also spotted 'Homegrown' above his top lip and said he appeared to have 23 and 16 on his temples.
These numbers are often used to signify the letters W and P, the initials of White Power.
A spokesperson for Sky earlier told The Sun Online: "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."
Talking ahead of his appearance on the Sky show, Darren said of his inkings: “About ten years ago I saw someone with facial tattoos and started to work with my tattooist on my look.
"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.
"Some people ask for selfies with me. I’ve never had a negative reaction to my tattoos. They are just me."
Fans – including Netflix star and comedian Katherine Ryan – were horrified and claimed the contestant has "Nazi tattoos on his face".
She tweeted: "'White men can’t get on TV anymore’…..this one literally has Nazi tattoos on his face and is on TV."
Another viewer wrote: "The bloke with the neo nazi tattoos. I thought you were the history channel."
A third added: "Are you for real? The bloke has Nazi tattoos on his face ffs. Sky ‘History’ indeed. Morons."
In the beginning of the clip, Darren says: "I am patient. To a degree. So if there's gonna be people getting in my way, there might be fireworks."
Then later to presenter Lee Mack, he says: "So I'm known as The Woodman. So I turn up and say, 'I am The Woodman."
Lee then jokes: "I'm not going to lie to you Darren, if you were the bloke in my town, you wouldn't be known as The Woodman.
"You'd be the bloke with all the tattoos. Surely that takes precedence over The Woodman."
The Chop was hosted by comedian Lee Mack, TV presenter Rick Edwards and master carpenter William Hardie.
It saw ten contestants compete for the title of Britain's Top Woodworker in Epping Forest, between London and Essex.
Only one episode of the nine-part series aired before the show was cancelled.
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