BBC radio host fired over royal baby chimp tweet
In this May 13, 2013 file photo, Danny Baker poses for a photo in London. Baker tweeted Thursday, May 9, 2019 that he has been fired after posting an image of a couple holding hands with a chimpanzee dressed in clothes and the caption: "Royal baby leaves hospital." (Yui Mok/PA via AP, file)
Published Thursday, May 9, 2019 8:16AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 9, 2019 8:43AM EDT
A veteran BBC radio host has been fired over a “racist” tweet about the new royal baby.
Danny Baker, who presents a show on BBC Radio 5 Live, tweeted then deleted an image comparing newborn Archie Harrison to a chimp.
The 61-year-old apologized and deleted the tweet but later slammed the BBC for the way he was fired.
“The call to fire me from @bbc5live was a masterclass of pompous faux-gravity,” he tweeted Thursday.
“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.”
The offending tweet showed a black and white image of a couple holding hands with a chimpanzee dressed in a suit and hat with the caption: "Royal baby leaves hospital."
Baker called the tweet a “stupid unthinking gag.”
“Was supposed to be joke about Royals vs circus animals in posh clothes but interpreted as about monkeys and race, so rightly deleted,” he wrote.
“Royal watching not my forte. Also, guessing it was my turn in the barrel.”
Baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan on Monday May 6.
Baker received swift backlash from Twitter users branding the post "racist" due to Meghan's heritage - her estranged dad Thomas Markle is white and mother Doria Ragland is African-American.
“Sorry my gag pic of the little fella in the posh outfit has whipped some up,” he wrote.
“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. And that's it.”
Baker, who has more than half a million followers on Twitter, described being doorstepped by reporters, one of whom asked: “Do you think black people look like monkeys?”
“No mate. Gag pic. Posh baby chimp. Alerted to circs. Appalled. Deleted. Apologised,” he tweeted.
A BBC spokesperson called the tweet “a serious error of judgement."
The corporation added that Baker's tweet "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 spokesman said.
Baker is an award-winning broadcaster and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2012.
It's the second time the controversial presenter has been axed by 5 Live and the third time he has left the BBC.
“Would have used same stupid pic for any other Royal birth or Boris Johnson kid or even one of my own,” Baker tweeted.
“It's a funny image. (Though not of course in that context.) Enormous mistake, for sure. Grotesque. Anyway, here's to ya Archie, Sorry mate.”