A YouTube star known as the Chicken Connoisseur has blasted the government’s decision to put knife crime warnings on fast-food boxes.
Elijah Quashie, 26, said the approach lacked a ‘deeper train of thought’ and couldn’t see what the Home Office was hoping it would achieve.
The critic told BBC 5’s Wake Up to Money: ‘I can see the racist connotation. I’m not sure if I’d say racist, or stereotype but it’s in that bracket.’
He continued: ‘There should be someone who has a deeper train of thought than: “Black people, they eat chicken we can intersect the black people who kill each other at a chicken shop, with the chicken boxes”.
‘I don’t know what they think that’s really going to do.’
He then added: ‘If something real happens, the chicken box unfortunately is not really going to weigh up. They would have at least thought maybe there’s a reason why people are doing it.
‘Let’s look into the reason why. Or the circumstances people who commit knife crime are in and maybe we can do something to stop it at its infancy.
‘It’s not really treating the symptoms either. It’s just a chicken box.’
The #KnifeFree chicken boxes have been rolled out in more than 321,000 takeway shops across England and Wales, and link to a information website about the impact of knife crime.
According to the government, the shops were chosen after research demonstrated that 70 per cent of their customers are aged between 16 and 24.
Several of the UK’s biggest chicken chains are involved in the scheme, including Morleys, Dixy Chicken and Chicken Cottage.
Elijah rose to fame reviewing chicken shops in YouTube series Pengest Munch, in which he critiques the same order of a chicken strip burger, wings and chips at different places.
He always dresses in a suit and tie for the meal and is brutally honest with viewers, letting them know when the meat is pink or the chips too soggy.
The presenter, who now stars on Channel 4 show Peng Life, said said the Home Office’s boxes could have worked as a PR stunt to get conversations about knife crime going.
But he continued: ‘The aim was not the conversation. It seems like the aim was for the chicken boxes to make a difference in the streets.’
All City Media Solutions, who created the #KnifeFree boxes, said the campaign was meant to target ‘young people of all races and religions’.
A spokesperson for the agency said: ‘Making the presumption that any one strategy alone, however big or small can tackle an endemic problem such as knife crime is naive at best, and politicising an issue that’s ripping the heart out of this country is misplaced and counterproductive.
‘If even one young vulnerable person is helped by this campaign, this would’ve all been worth it.’