A fire brigade in the UK is on the receiving end of some heavy criticism after they axed Fireman Sam as their mascot – saying the children’s TV character was outdated and didn’t reflect the message they wanted to achieve.
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service axed the beloved fictional character over concerns the mascot was not inclusive enough and may discourage women from joining the force. Instead they are replacing Fireman Sam with fire extinguisher-shaped mascots called Freddy, Filbert and Penelope, according to the BBC.
However, the fire brigade has since come under fire for the decision to ban the character, with many claiming it’s a case of “PC gone mad”. Today host Ben Fordham led the criticism, saying he’s “officially done” with people trying to “airbrush any hint of masculinity”.
“Seriously, I’m done. I’m officially done. Put a fork in me, I’m finished, I’m cooked, I’m over it,” he said. “When are we going to reach a point of saying ‘enough is enough’ and who’s going to stick up for the Fireman Sams out there who just want to be boys… and what’s wrong with being a boy.
“It’s reached the point now that every two days there’s another situation where people are saying no we need to airbrush any hint of masculinity… Give us a break.”
Fireman Sam has been banned for being “too male”! We can’t make this stuff up…there were complaints the character was not “inclusive” and was discouraging women from joining the fire brigade, now THIS is PC gone mad. #9Today pic.twitter.com/27tqmxvyiD
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) September 11, 2019
Meanwhile, speaking to Piers Morgan on Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain about the controversial decision, chief fire officer Les Britzman from Lincolnshire backed the move, saying: “What we feared is, Fireman Sam is a bit outdated really and it doesn’t really reflect what we’re trying to achieve in today’s modern fire and rescue service.”
But Piers was having none of it, insisting the fire chief’s argument was nonsense. “How many women in the world have refused to join the fire service in this world because of Fireman Sam,” he said. “The whole premise of your argument is nonsense. No women has refused to join the fire service because of Fireman Sam.”
A confused Piers continued: “I just don’t get why you have to target Fireman Sam. I love Fireman Sam, my daughter loves Fireman Sam, my daughter is seven and she never watches Fireman Sam and says that’s why I’m not joining the fire service.”
Meanwhile, many people on social media have also criticised the decision, with one writing: “Political correctness gone mad. We Loved Fireman Sam in our home. Who comes up with this stuff? Clearly they need to get a life , who would even care? It is fantastic for fire awareness and fantastic morals about helping people.”
Another added: “Absolutely crazy, what is wrong with the world. I think some people have to much time on there hands. My little granddaughters love Fireman Sam , they are smart enough to see it as entertainment.”
While a third wrote: “Firstly this is a show for young children. They are not applying for the job. f you are watching Fireman Sam as an adult AND you let your career path be guided by a fictitious and animated show. you probably aren’t the best candidate for saving lives anyway.”
This isn’t the first time a male character has been axed or swapped for a female. Reports surfaced earlier this year that British actress Lashana Lynch has been cast as 007 in the next James Bond film, however, an Australian columnist at the time slammed the decision, saying: “There is nothing empowering for women about suddenly making 007 a female.”
According to Lucy Carne, the franchise does not need to be “vaccinated against toxic masculinity to make a #metoo moralistic point”.
“We have officially reached peak political correctness and I, for one, am done,” she wrote in The Daily Telegraph. “Reboots of classics like Charlie’s Angels, in which crime-fighting masterminds have always been women, is the right way to go. Simply slapping a woman in a role written by a man for men, is not.”