Broadcaster Danny Baker has been fired from BBC Radio 5 Live following a “stupid unthinking gag” about the royal baby.
On Thursday 9th May, Baker posted a message saying he had been sacked from his show on BBC Radio 5 Live.
The 61-year-old broadcaster’s post about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new baby had been accused of being racially offensive, although Baker insisted that “there wasn’t a single thought about race” when he tweeted the message.
Baker’s now-deleted tweet showed a black and white image of a couple holding hands with a chimpanzee, which Baker had captioned, “Royal Baby leaves hospital”.
A BBC spokesperson confirmed to RadioTimes.com that Baker had been sacked by 5 Live, saying, “This was a serious error of judgment and goes against the values we as a station aim to embody. Danny’s a brilliant broadcaster but will no longer be presenting a weekly show with us.”
The presenter offered his “sincere apologies” for the picture, saying, “Was supposed to be joke about royals vs circus animals in posh clothes but interpreted as about monkeys and race, so rightly deleted. Royal watching not my forte.”
In another message, Baker said, “Sorry my gag pic of the little fella in the posh outfit has whipped some up. Never occurred to me because, well, mind not diseased. Soon as those good enough to point out it’s possible connotations got in touch, down it came.”
Harry and Meghan revealed on Wednesday that their son was named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Baker replied to messages criticising his original tweet, saying that “there wasn’t a single thought about race” when he posted the photo.
However, others argued that Baker’s ignorance about the offensiveness of his message was “unacceptable”.
“To post a pic picturing a three-day old baby of mixed heritage as a monkey, then claim it was a joke? That’s old-school prejudice and racism at its peak,” ITV newsreader Charlene White wrote. “And for a trusted broadcaster working at a public service broadcaster to feed that prejudice? It’s unacceptable.
“And to claim ‘ignorance’, and give a half-hearted apology – again full of jokey ‘banter’ – despite people highlighting just how clearly offensive it is, is also unacceptable. That’s not the world we live in now. Those who live in privilege must be held to account.”
Baker later hit back at the BBC’s decision to fire him, claiming that he had been ‘thrown under the bus’ by the broadcaster.
“The call to fire me from @bbc5live was a masterclass of pompous faux-gravity,” he posted after announcing he had been sacked. “Took a tone that said I actually meant that ridiculous tweet and the BBC must uphold blah blah blah. Literally threw me under the bus. Could hear the suits knees knocking.”