AETN U.K.’s and Comcast’s Sky History channel has canceled controversial woodworking program “The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker” after a raging controversy around a participant allegedly sporting Nazi tattoos.
The participant, Darren Lumsden, has the number 88 tattooed on his cheek. Since 8 is the eighth letter of the alphabet, it is considered a numerical code for the phrase “Heil Hitler,” used by white supremacists. Last week, Sky History said that the number referred to the year of Lumsden’s father’s death. However, an investigation by U.K. tabloid Daily Mail revealed that Lumsden’s father, Trevor, remains very much alive.
Sky History pulled the show off air last week, pending an investigation, and on Friday, decided to cancel it altogether.
An AETN U.K. spokesperson said: “Following an independent investigation, AETN U.K. 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 offense; we sincerely apologize 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 U.K. and Sky History stand against racism and hate speech of all kinds.”
The show is produced by Big Wheel Film & Television.
A spokesperson for Big Wheel Film & Television commented: “Big Wheel Film & Television acted professionally, appropriately and in good faith throughout the making of ‘The Chop,’ following robust due diligence and duty of care processes from casting through to delivery.”
“All issues, problems and concerns identified in relation to Darren Lumsden’s tattoos during production were fully reported up to AETN, and the broadcaster’s directives and instructions in response were closely followed. Big Wheel Film & Television co-operated fully with the independent investigation put in place by AETN, and shared details of relevant processes, discussions and exchanges, along with supporting evidence and documentation.”
“Big Wheel Film & Television stands against all forms of hatred and intolerance, is committed to the highest professional standards, and strives at all times to treat people fairly.”