Only Connect host Victoria Coren Mitchell has issued a public apology after the BBC Two game show was criticised by charity Changing Faces.
The popular quiz sees players look for the connection between seemingly unrelated clues, but in an episode that aired last week (November 28), the word 'scar' was described as a 'mark of shame' and linked to words such as 'blot', 'stain' and 'stigma'.
Changing Faces represents children, young people and adults with 'visible differences'. Taking to Twitter after the episode aired, the charity wrote: "We were disappointed and shocked to see scars described as marks of shame on your show recently. There is #NoShame in having a scar.
"What is a shame is that we are still perpetuating the myth that there's something wrong with visible differences like scars. We hope you will commit to learning about how to better represent those with visible differences."
Victoria has now responded to the backlash in a statement posted to Twitter, in which she said: "On an episode of Only Connect a couple of weeks ago we had a wall category which was 'wall, stain, blot, scar' and the on-screen caption was 'marks of shame'. I didn't know that. The captions aren't on when I see the questions in advance.
"I totally see how the question-writer's mind was working: they're using a figurative meaning of 'scar' - a lower dictionary definition (as in a scar on someone's reputation). HOWEVER this opens the door to the RIDICULOUS and AWFUL idea that a literal visual scar on the face or body of a person is somehow shameful.
"I hope anyone who's ever watched our programme would know this is the very opposite of what we would think. We stand proudly at odds with that kind of nonsense."
The statement continued: "Then again we're meant to be standard bearers for deep thinking. I'm extremely embarrassed personally that the show made itself open to that kind of reading.
"I'll leave it to the programme and channel to figure out the best way of stating somewhere more formal that this was a mistake and very much not what we stand for."
A BBC spokesperson told Digital Spy: “Questions and answers on Only Connect are devised using figurative association to get to the connected answer and no offence is ever intended.
"Having reflected on this particular question, we wouldn’t use such a term again and we’re deeply sorry for any upset caused.”
Only Connect airs on BBC Two and is available to watch on iPlayer.
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