Piers Morgan has ridiculed the decision to ditch Fireman Sam as mascot for the fire service.
Les Britzman, the chief fire officer for Lincolnshire, made headlines today after announcing he will stop using “outdated” mascot Fireman Sam in the force’s promotional material because the stereotype is not inclusive of women.
Fireman Sam is the namesake of a 30-year-old popular animated television series, and has long been used in as a mascot by UK fire services.
"The reason more women don't want to be firefighters is because of images like Fireman Sam,” Britzman told ITV’s Good Morning Britain, calling the stereotype “outdated”.
But Morgan criticised the decision, accusing the fire chief of being “hypocritical”.
“There you are representing the [fire] service and you have a problem with using any promotional material that has a male firefighter at the head. It’s totally hypocritical,” the presenter said.
“You have an objection for Fireman Sam who portrays the service showing a white man in charge and there you are, a white man in charge,” he added.
In response, Britzman drew attention to the overwhelmingly male demographic of the fire service – of which only 7% are female.
“This doesn’t reflect society, half our population is female,” he argued.
But Morgan drew attention to the presence of a female firefighter, Penelope, who is one of the characters in Fireman Sam series, claiming: “You throw this tripe nonsense that women have watched Fireman Sam and put them off!”
What’s more, more than half of women believe sexism holds them back at work.