Not Inclusive Enough: UK Fire Service Chiefs Ban Fireman Sam as Mascot

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The show has been accused of sexism repeatedly over the years – in 2018, Ann Millington, chief executive of Kent Fire and Rescue Service, called for the character to be re-named Firefighter Sam. A similar campaign was also launched in 2017 and backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service have banned beloved children's TV character Fireman Sam from being used as a mascot on the basis the white male firefighter isn’t inclusive enough, and may discourage women or ethnic minorities from joining the force.

Freddy and Filbert, blue and red fire extinguishers complete with hands, mouths and eyes, will now take his place – but many members of the public are displeased, believing Sam’s ouster is an example of political correctness gone mad.

​Fireman Sam was created in the 1980s by two London firefighters – his cohorts now include disabled and ethnic minority characters, and female firefighter Penny Morris has been his cohort for some time.

​“Firefighters nationally and residents locally have raised some concerns Fireman Sam doesn’t reflect the fire service today, in terms of both the job itself and our workforce. It’s important to us our open days and community events don’t make anyone feel excluded and therefore we took this decision. We always make sure that we include plenty of activities and other ways to engage children and adults, to help them learn more about fire safety and a firefighter’s role,” Lincolnshire’s chief fire officer Les Britzman told The Lincolnite newspaper.

​In March this year, the writer who created Fireman Sam waded into the show's ongoing sexism row, hitting back at critics who said the programme puts women off joining the service.

​David Jones, himself a former firefighter, said the animation was meant to educate its young audience on fire safety, rather than being a recruitment drive – “someone doesn't join the fire service when they watch Fireman Sam, they wouldn't be the right people for the job if that was their mentality,” he told BBC Radio 2 at the time.

​The ban has sparked outrage on social media, with many users questioning what the world has come to.

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