BBC presenter Danny Baker fired over royal baby tweet

Broadcaster says post with image of chimpanzee an ‘enormous mistake’

 

A BBC Radio 5 Live presenter says he has been fired after tweeting an image of a chimpanzee dressed in clothes below the caption “Royal Baby leaves hospital”.

“Just got fired,” Danny Baker, a broadcaster with BBC Radio 5 Live, said on Twitter.

Meghan Markle, wife of Britain’s Prince Harry, gave birth in the early hours of Monday morning to a baby boy, the first mixed race child to be born into a senior position in British royalty in recent history.

Baker had made a joke about the birth, tweeting a black and white photo showing a well-dressed man and woman holding hands with a suited chimpanzee.

He later posted on Twitter: “Just got fired from BBC 5 Live. For the record — it was red sauce. Always,” referencing a game on his show. Baker had captioned the image: “Royal baby leaves hospital”.

Following a backlash and allegations of racism, he deleted the post and apologised.

After announcing he had been fired, Baker criticised the way it was handled, saying he had been thrown “under a bus”.

“The call to fire me from bbc5live was a masterclass of pompous faux-gravity,” he tweeted.

“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.”

And he added: “Now it’s started raining. Perfect.”

Baker had apologised, saying: “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 its possible connotations got in touch, down it came. And that’s it.”

“Enormous mistake, for sure. Grotesque. Anyway, here’s to ya Archie, Sorry mate.”

The 61-year-old, who presents a weekly show on BBC Radio 5 Live, apologised again on Wednesday evening, saying the joke was intended to poke fun at the royal family.

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex hold their baby son. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/Pool via Reuters
Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex hold their baby son. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/Pool via Reuters

He said: “Once again. Sincere apologies for the stupid unthinking gag pic earlier. 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.”

A BBC spokesman 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.”

In an email to staff on Thursday morning, 5 Live controller Jonathan Wall wrote: “I have just spoken to Danny Baker and let him know that he will no longer be presenting his weekly show with us.

“Danny made a serious error of judgement on social media last night and it goes against the values we live and breathe on this radio station. “

“Danny has been a brilliant broadcaster for us and I want to thank him for his work with us on Saturday mornings over the last few years.” –PA/Reuters