Sky Launches Investigation Into Claims The Chop Contestant Has ‘Nazi Tattoos’ On His Face

The broadcaster has also taken the Sky History show off air pending an investigation into the inkings of contestant "The Woodman".

Sky has launched an investigation into claims that one of the contestants on The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker has “Nazi tattoos” on his face.

A&E Networks said it will not broadcast the Sky History show pending an investigation into Darren Lumsden AKA “The Woodman” and his facial inkings.

Shortly after Sky History shared a clip from the show featuring The Woodman on Tuesday, there were claims on social media that some of his facial inkings could be associated with neo-Nazi ideology.

The since-deleted video introduces Darren, and is captioned: “Meet the Woodman, the Bloke-With-All-The-Tattoos or Darren as we like to call him. #TheChop.”

Darren Lumsden AKA “The Woodman”.
Darren Lumsden AKA “The Woodman”.

Viewers raised concerns about his facial art, with some claiming the “88” on his cheek is a white supremacist symbol representing “Heil Hitler” (H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so 88 could symbolise HH). Others pointed out that Darren has the word “Homegrown” tattooed above his top lip.

In a statement issued to HuffPost UK, A&E Networks, which runs Sky History jointly with Comcast, insisted it stood against racism and hate speech and was investigating:

“While we further investigate the nature, and meaning, of Darren’s tattoos, we have removed the video featuring him from our social media pages, and will not be broadcasting any episodes of The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker until we have concluded that investigation. Sky HISTORY stands against racism and hate speech of all kinds.”

The investigation was launched after a Sky spokesperson initially insisted the tattoos simply denote significant events in Darren’s life and that “88” is the year his father died.

Responding to the claims on Twitter, 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.

“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.”

Talking about his tattoos to the Bristol Post ahead of his appearance on the Sky show, Darren 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.”

The Chop is hosted by comedian Lee Mack and Rick Edwards, along with Master Carpenter William Hardie.

It sees ten contestants compete for the title of Britain’s Top Woodworker in Epping Forest.