Sky History has axed its new show The Chop after viewers spotted that a contestant appeared to have various ‘Nazi tattoos’ on his face.
The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker, featuring comedian Lee Mack, invites carpenters to test out their skills to be crowned Britain’s best.
The channel yesterday tweeted a trailer in which Mack introduces contestant Darren Lumsden, with the title: ‘Meet the Woodman, the Bloke-With-All-The-Tattoos or Darren as we like to call him’.
Some viewers were quick to single out one of his tattoos – a prominent ’88’ on his cheek – which they took as a right-wing symbol.
They said the number 88 in white nationalist or neo-Nazi circles can be used as a code to represent ‘Heil Hitler’, because ‘H’ is the 8th letter of the alphabet.
Father-of-two Darren Lumsden from Bristol, pictured, is competing on Sky History’s new show The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker. However, a trailer for the show featuring Darren sparked protests when some viewers suggested the ’88’ on his face was a ‘neo Nazi tattoo’
Viewers also spotted a number of other potential white supremacy symbols on Darren’s skin, including 23 and 16 inked at his temples, allegedly representing the numerical equivalent of ‘white power’.
He was also accused of having a sig rune symbol – used by Nazis to symbolise victory and often mistaken as a lightning bolt – on the right side of his nose, and a number 14 on his scalp which can represent ’14 words’, a slogan coined by white supremacist terrorist David Lane.
However before announcing that they would not be broadcasting the show, the channel defended Darren’s tattoos, claiming that ‘1988 is the year of his father’s death’ and that the tattoos ‘have no political or ideological meaning’.
The father-of-two, from Bristol is one of ten contestants on the now axed show, which was due to start on Thursday, and is filmed in Epping Forest.
Darren Lumsden is seen with a prominent 88 on his cheek (circled bottom) and 23 and 16 allegedly inked at his temples representing the numerical equivalent of ‘white power’ (top)
Here the ’16’ can be seen, allegedly representing ‘white power when combined with the ’23’ on his other temple. And the number 14 is seen (circled top) representing ’14 words’ a popular white supremacist slogan
British geneticist and author of How To Argue With A Racist, Dr Adam Rutherford, confirmed that he had spotted several other numerical tattoos that were likely to be white supremacy symbols.
He tweeted: ‘I spend a lot of time on white supremacy forums online, and they have dozens of really idiotic numerical codes, most of which are substitution ciphers that a 7 year old would come up with.
‘Darren appears to have these two on his face 88 = HH = Heil Hitler 23/16 = WP = White Supremacy There’s also: 18 = AH = Adolf Hitler 1488: a reference to the so-called 14 words, coined by white supremacist terrorist David Lane.’
He continued: ‘There’s also: 1/11 = AK = Aryan Knights 3/11 = 3 K = KKK 109 = the claim that Jews have been expelled from 109 nations throughout history, sometimes coupled with 110 = in the hope that the US will be the next one.’
During Lee Mack’s interview Mr Lumsden he commented on the amount of ink on the carpenter’s face after he introduced himself as ‘The Woodman’.
British geneticist and author of How To Argue With A Racist, Dr Adam Rutherford, confirmed that he had spotted several other numerical tattoos on Darren
The comedian said: ‘If you were in my town, you wouldn’t be known as the woodman, you’d be known as the man with all the tattoos, surely they would take precedence.’
The interview was met with negative tweets, including one from Luke O’Riordan calling the channel ‘morons’ and asking: ‘Are you for real. The bloke has Nazi tattoos on his face ffs.’
Sky History said there was an innocent explanation for the number, but axed the show hours later.
Sky History tweeted: ‘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.
Sky History released a short video featuring an interview between Mr Lumsden and show host Lee Mack where viewers noticed the tattoo
Mr Lumsden also has the figures 23 and 16 on his temples. These figures are also often used by the far right as a coded reference to White Power
‘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. ‘
They later added: ‘While we investigate the nature & meaning of Darren’s tattoos we have removed the video featuring him from our social media, & will not be broadcasting any eps of The Chop until we have concluded that investigation. Sky HISTORY stands against racism & hate speech of all kinds.’
Many people on Twitter expressed concern about Mr Lumsden’s facial tattoos, including the 88 figure
Many people noticed the link between the figure 88 and white supremacist terminology though Sky History claim there is an innocent explanation
Sky History defended Mr Lumsden on Twitter claiming they have carried out extensive background checks and have found nothing to link him to any racist groups, views or comments
Sky History regularly features documentaries on the Second World War, such as Hitler’s Gold and Hitler’s Last Secrets.
Speaking to The Bristol Post on October 15, Mr Lumsden said: ‘About 10 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. I’ve already been stopped by people who have seen the adverts. No one went on the show to become famous.
‘But hopefully it will come across on the show that I’m a bit of a character.’
The Campaign Against Antisemitism expressed concern about the tattoos.
A spokesperson for the group said: ‘Sky HISTORY has made a terrible mistake by including in ‘The Chop’ an individual 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.
‘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.’