Woodwork reality show The Chop has been axed after a probe found a contestant’s facial tattoos ‘could be linked to far-right ideologies’.
Sky History has announced they are cancelling the programme after viewers spotted that Darren Lumsden appeared to have various ‘Nazi tattoos’ on his face.
These include the number 88 on his cheek, which 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.
The broadcaster apologised that they did not investigate the tattoos further and inisited that thy stand against racism and hate speech.
Father-of-two Darren Lumsden from Bristol, pictured, has an ’88’ on his face which viewers pointed out is a ‘neo Nazi’ symbol
The channel posted a statement on social media saying an internal probe found the inkings ‘could be connected to far-right ideologies’
Mr Lumsden said his face inking of the number 88 was in memory of the year his late father Trevor lost his life – and nothing to do with far-right code.
But his 66-year-old parent revealed he was very much alive – and living in Bristol, not far from his carpenter son.
The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker, featuring comedian Lee Mack, invited carpenters to test out their skills to be crowned Britain’s best.
In statement confirming the cancellation, the broadcaster said the parent media company A+E Networks (AETN), which runs brands include HISTORY, CI, Lifetime, H2 and BLAZE in the UK, said they would not be airing further episodes of the reality show.
The statement read: ‘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.
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
‘The contestant continues to strenuously deny that he has, or ever had, far-right leanings.
‘We are thoroughly reviewing out internal processes following the investigation. AETN UK and Sky HISTORY stand against racism and hate speech of all kinds.’
Sky History previously defended Mr Lumsden’s facial tattoos saying that the tattoos ‘have no political or ideological meaning’ and ‘1988 is the year of his father’s death’.
They insisted that their production team had ‘carried out extensive background checks on all the woodworkers taking part in the show’ and said that ‘Darren has no affiliations or links to racist groups, views or comments’.
His friends also rushed to his defence with model Sasha Gardner, 38, insisting he’s ‘a big cuddly bear’ and ‘definitely wasn’t a Nazi or a racist.
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 personal trainer and actress met Mr Lumsden on a Channel 4 reality show called Dumped in 2007, in which contestants survived on other people’s rubbish in a landfill site for three weeks.
But after the channel tweeted a trailer in which Mack introduced Mr Lumsden, they were met with a public backlash.
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.
The row prompted Mr Lumsden’s own father to publicly announce he was in fact not dead.
Trevor told MailOnline: ‘I’m here aren’t I?’ I’m alive and kicking so I’m not dead yet.’
Darren’s father has short term memory loss after a serious motorbike crash more than 30 years ago.
He lives in a shared house and has support workers popping in to help every day.
The father added: ‘I haven’t seen Darren for some years, I didn’t know he had tattoos over his face or that he was going to be on TV.
‘But if they are saying I’m dead I’d like them to know I’m not.’
Hosted by Mack, Rick Edwards and master craftsmen William Hardie, the carpentry competition sees the 10 contestants compete over nine weeks in Epping forest, Essex, to whittle, carve and chop their way to the final, to see who will be crowed ‘Britain’s Top Woodworker’.
The champion’s prize would have been the chance to stage their own exhibition at the prestigious William Morris Gallery in London.