Belfast Telegraph

Danny Baker sacked by BBC over Royal baby monkey tweet

Danny Baker (Yui Mok/PA)
Danny Baker (Yui Mok/PA)
Sarah Tulloch

By Sarah Tulloch

Broadcaster Danny Baker has been sacked from BBC Radio 5 Live after tweeting a joke about the Duke and Duchess Of Sussex’s son using a picture of a monkey.

The radio DJ, who presented a weekly show on the station, tweeted: "Just got fired from @bbc5live. For the record - it was red sauce. Always."

Harry and Meghan, whose mother is African American, yesterday introduced their new arrival, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Baker made a joke about the birth of Harry and Meghan's son tweeting a black and white photo showing a well-dressed man and woman holding hands with a suited chimpanzee.

Baker captioned it: ”Royal baby leaves hospital”. Following a backlash and allegations of racism, he deleted the post and apologised.

He 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. And that’s it.”

Baker said that the phone call he received from the BBC this morning was "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," he tweeted. "Could hear the suits knees knocking. #F***em."

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.”

Apologising again on Thursday morning, before announcing he had been sacked from the show, Baker said that he "would have used same stupid pic for any other Royal birth or Boris Johnson's kid or even one of my own".

He added: "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."

The 61-year-old also apologised on Wednesday evening, saying the joke was intended to poke fun at the Royal family.

“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," said Baker.

“Royal watching not my forte. Also, guessing it was my turn in the barrel.”

The broadcaster was previously sacked by the BBC in 1997. Radio 5 Live dropped Baker’s soccer phone-in show when the broadcaster’s news chief Tony Hall, now the corporation’s director general, said he had crossed “the line between being humorous and controversial and being insulting”.

He was ousted from his Wednesday slot, The Baker Line, and turned down an offer to continue his Saturday lunchtime programme.

In 2012, his afternoon show on BBC London 94.9 was also axed, days before he was due to be inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame.

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