Sky History have removed a promo video of its new series The Chop and has halted broadcasting of episodes after viewers claimed a contestant had neo Nazi symbols tattooed on his face.
The channel announced on social media that it will be “investigating the nature and meaning of Darren’s tattoos” and will not be showing any episodes of the woodworking show until the investigation has been concluded.
It added: “Sky History stands against racism & hate speech of all kinds.”
Among the tattoos in question are the use of number 88 as well as the use of the numbers 23 and 16, which have been used as coded messages of support by neo Nazi organisations in the past.
The number 88 has been used by neo Nazi organisations to represent the eighth letter of the alphabet, H, twice in order to indicate the phrase "Heil Hitler" while using 23 and 16 together follows a similar code, referencing the 23rd and 16th letters of the alphabet, W and P respectively, to symbolise the phrase "white power".
Viewers also questioned if there may be a nationalist message behind the contestant's "homegrown" tattoo over his upper lip.
However, earlier today - in now deleted tweets - the channel denied that the tattoos have any “political or ideological meaning”.
Sky History wrote: “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.”
The show - full title The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker - is a competition show which sees carpenters and woodworkers battle it off to be crowned Britain’s top woodworker.