Sky History have denied that a contestant on The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker has tattoos associated with white supremacists.
The channel came under fire from furious followers on Twitter after a clip from their new show revealed woodworking expert Darren had ’88’ tattooed on his face.
The number 88 is associated with white supremacists, standing for HH – ‘Heil Hitler’ – as H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.
However Darren has ‘various numerical tattoos’ and the ’88’ is in reference to 1988, the year his father died.
In the wake of backlash on social media, the channel tweeted in a statement: ‘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.’
In the clip from the woodworking competition, host and comedian Lee Mack chats to Darren, who calls himself The Woodman.
‘I am patient to a degree’ Darren says, ‘so if there’s gonna be people getting in my way there might be fireworks’.
‘I sort of turn up and say “I’m the woodman”‘ he tells Lee, who replies: ‘I’m not gonna 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”?’
Responding to the video, one follower tweeted: ‘I hope there’s an episode about this tattoo and why it hasn’t been covered.’
Another fumed: ‘You’ve put a guy with a NAZI TATTOO ON HIS FACE ON YOUR SHOW.’
‘The bloke with the neo nazi tattoos. I thought you were the history channel,’ wrote another.
Calling for Darren to be dropped, one viewer tweeted: ‘This guy has a neo Nazi symbol ON HIS FACE. You need to throw him off the show (ie give him The Chop) and issue an apology. Did no-one think to research this?’
Read one furious reply: ‘Please explain why a man with Nazi imagery on his face made it into your programme and now that this has been pointed out to you whether you are going to apologise and withdraw this broadcast.
Anything less makes you complicit.’
One reply read: ‘Hey Sky History, I get you’re barely a history channel anymore but maybe do your homework on who you get on yeah? There’s a few red flags there…’ while another person said: ‘Sky HISTORY allowing someone with obvious NAZI tattoos to take part in their show? wow.’
The Chop, also fronted by Rick Edwards and carpenter William Hardie, brings the finest carpenters in the country to Epping Forest where they compete to become Britain’s best woodworker.
The show continues on October 22 on Sky History.