The BBC has "utterly condemned" allegations that an octopus that appeared on their quiz show University Challenge was a coded attack on Jewish people.

Screenshots of Monday night’s episode are going viral on X (formerly Twitter), with users claiming that the mascot bears a resemblance to antisemitic Nazi propaganda.

There are also allegations that contestant Melika Gorgianeh was wearing the colours of the Palestinian flag during her appearance on University Challenge, Britain’s longest-running quiz show.

Ben Obese-Jecty, a prospective Conservative Party MP and GB News contributor said the University Challenge episode was “disgraceful" and said that octopuses are "well-known antisemitic tropes".

Antisemitism is fast becoming normalised,” he added.

A BBC spokesperson said: "We are aware of a number of inaccurate claims being made online in relation to last night’s episode of University Challenge and we utterly condemn the abuse that has been posted and shared.

"For the avoidance of doubt, this episode was filmed in March. The mascot is one of many chosen by the team during the course of the series and is one of their favourite animals.

"The jacket worn by one of the contestants was navy blue, orange, pink and green, bought from a High Street retailer. It has no connection to any flag."

Why do people believe an octopus is antisemitic? 

The accusations stem from Nazi propaganda in which a 1938 cartoon depicted the Jews as an octopus encircling the globe.

Beginning in the 1920s, Nazis promoted the antisemitic myth that Jews were engaged in a massive conspiracy to take over the world.

This false notion alleged that “international Jewry” used various people and groups as part of a plan for global conquest. At the time, an octopus extending its tentacles over the globe was a common visual metaphor for this myth.