British woodworking show “The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker” has been canceled by AETN U.K.’s and Comcast’s Sky History channel following controversy over a contestant’s “far-right” tattoos.
Sky History first pulled the series last week pending an investigation into complaints about participant Darren Lumsden’s alleged Nazi body art, including the number 88 tattooed on his cheek, which is considered by some to be a numerical code for the phrase “Heil Hitler.”
“Following an independent investigation, AETN UK has made the decision not to broadcast any further episodes of ‘The Chop’ on Sky HISTORY,” A&E Networks UK said in a statement to TheWrap Friday. “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 statement continued: “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.”
In its own statement, “The Chop” producer Big Wheel Film & Television added: “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 UK, 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 UK, 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. Now that the independent investigation into Darren Lumsden’s tattoos has concluded, no further comment will be made from Big Wheel Film & Television in relation to this matter.”