U.K. cooking show “The Great British Bake Off” is ditching its nationality-themed episodes after some individuals accused the showcases of being racist.
The competitive cooking show, about to start its 14th season, previously featured rounds where amateur participants would compete to bake the best bread, cakes, and other pastries in the style of the nationality that was themed that week.
Hollywood outlet Deadline.com reported that in 2020, the show featured a “Japan Week,” in 2021 it featured a “German Week,” and in 2022, the show featured a “Mexican Week.”
However, this tradition fell out of favor after critics pointed out that many of the dishes were not sufficiently authentic to the themes.
Additionally, co-hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas offended some viewers by donning sombreros, shaking maracas and attempting Latin-American accents during the show.
During the episode, the two also cracked jokes that offended some viewers. In one instance, Fielding said, “I don’t feel like we should make Mexican jokes, because people will get upset,” to which Lucas responded, “Not even Juan?”
Annoyed viewers took to social media to condemn the scene, calling it a “mistake,” “racist and tacky.” Others claimed it showed “a lack of interest and poor information” on the part of the show’s production team.
In an interview with U.K. outlet The Guardian, the show’s executive producer Kieran Smith acknowledged the complaints about insensitivity and racism plaguing recent seasons of the show.
He claimed, “I hold my hands up to the cooking complaint and the theme weeks. We didn’t want to offend anyone but the world has changed and the joke fell flat.”
Smith declared, “We’re not doing any national themes this year.” He expressed the production team’s decision to opt for a return to more “traditional” programming with the reality show.
“We’re going very traditional. We’re doing all the regular weeks: Cakes, Biscuits, Bread, Patisserie, Chocolate, plus Party Cakes is a new theme. No spoilers, but it features challenges I think viewers will love.”
The Guardian noted how the 12 amateur contestants for the upcoming season of “The Great British Bake Off” are a “typically diverse mix.” It added, “The field includes the show’s first deaf contestant – another example of Bake Off’s long-standing inclusivity.”
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