BBC host who shared 'racist' tweet comparing Baby Archie to a chimpanzee sacked for 'stupid unthinking gag'
BBC has announced that it has fired Radio 5 Live host Danny Baker over his "stupid unthinking gag" on Twitter on Wednesday, May 9, where he compared the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's newborn son to a chimpanzee.
Addressing his termination, a BBC spokesperson said, "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."
Baker, 61, drew a furious backlash after he tweeted a black and white photo of a well-dressed man and woman holding hands with a suited chimpanzee with the caption, "Royal baby leaves hospital."
He quickly went on to delete that post after several accused him of racism and issued an apology, though it did seem like a half-hearted one. "Sorry my gag pic of the little fella in the posh outfit has whipped some up," he said. "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."
He once again apologized the same evening, insisting it was not racist but meant to just poke fun at the royal family. "Once again. Sincere apologies for the stupid unthinking gag pic earlier," he said. "Was supposed to be joke about royals vs circus animals in posh clothes but interpreted as about monkeys & race, so rightly deleted. Royal watching not my forte. Also, guessing it was my turn in the barrel."
But when the BBC decided they would not be needing his services any longer despite the apology, Baker went on the offensive against the corporation, terming the handling of the entire ordeal as "a masterclass of pompous faux-gravity."
"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," he tweeted.
He later told the Daily Mail that he had told the head of BBC Five Live to "f*** off" and that he was "not temperate" when he was told he was fired. He said he was infuriated when he was told he had "meant" to be racist and continued to claim the picture was about class and privilege and not race.
"Basically, they said to me 'you meant that tweet' I said to them 'you think so?'" he said. "And I said, 'well f*** you and f*** off.' So, by mutual agreement, my employment was terminated. They did not give me a chance to apologize. But I'm not very temperate anyway when people want to get rid of me. There's no conversation."
It's not the first time Baker has been in trouble the BBC either. In 1997, he was sacked from the same station after it was alleged that he had incited threatening behavior after a referee awarded a controversial penalty in an FA Cup tie. Then, in 2012, after his afternoon show on BBC London was axed, he branded his bosses "pinheaded weasels."