A West Yorkshire fire chief has taken Piers Morgan to task in a row about whether Fireman Sam is sexist.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton waded into an debate on Twitter in which Good Morning Britain presenter Morgan dismissed claims that the term ‘fireman’ is putting girls off becoming firefighters.
The London Fire Brigade also criticised children’s TV programme Peppa Pig for using ‘fireman’ in an episode called The Fire Engine.
They have launched their firefighting sexism campaign, saying that the term encourages children to think that only men can become firefighters.
According to Government statistics, 5.2 per cent of firefighters in England were women in 2017.
Morgan said on Twitter: “If women are being 'put off' joining the fire service because Fireman Sam - A CARTOON CHARACTER - supposedly 'perpetuates male stereotypes' then can I politely suggest these women probably don't have what it takes to fight fires.”
Mr Walton replied: “Do you concede that the target age range for 'Fireman Sam' is young children? This is just the age at which they are very impressionable - we in the Fire & Rescue Service want to use language that doesn't start to stereotype roles - simple as that!”
The former tabloid editor hit back: “There are heroic firewomen in Fireman Sam. So this argument makes no sense.”
Mr Walton replied: “And it’s great that the show has heroic Firefighters (both men & women) - just like the real world. Why not reflect the real FRS and use ‘Firefighter’ - we’ve only used it for 20-30 years! We don’t use ‘Fireman’ in 2019. It’s a really simple ask. #FirefightingSexism”
Fire services across the country have backed up Mr Walton’s stance.
West Yorkshire Fire Service has previously criticised ITV soap Coronation Street after a character referred to firefighters as 'firemen' in an episode last year.
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Morgan said it would be similar to calling Wonder Woman, ‘Wonder Person’
Mr Walton replied: “Wonder Woman has super powers - she can stick up for herself! I’m sticking up for the women firefighters who are fed up being referred to as Firemen - we haven’t used that term during this century. Is it too much to ask that the media follows our lead and shows some respect?
Hammering home his point, Mr Walton said: “Whilst I fundamentally disagree with your point @piersmorgan , I also think that you are MISSING the point. The show is aimed at CHILDREN, specifically at a time of life when they are clearly influenced by what they see on TV. That’s where we can make a difference for the future.”