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Baker insists he’s no racist after BBC sacks him for royal baby chimp tweet

Danny Baker speaking at his London home yesterday
Danny Baker speaking at his London home yesterday

By Sherna Noah

Broadcaster Danny Baker insisted he was no "downbeat racist wretch" after he was sacked for tweeting a joke about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son featuring a picture of a chimpanzee.

The motor-mouth DJ was axed from BBC Radio 5 Live for what his bosses said was a "serious error of judgment".

Baker (61), who has been sacked from the station before, blasted his bosses for their handling of the controversy and said he was trying to make a point about class.

The DJ had tweeted a black-and-white image showing a well-dressed man and woman holding hands with a suited chimpanzee, which he captioned "Royal baby leaves hospital".

The tweet came on the same day Harry and Meghan, whose mother is African-American, posed with their new arrival, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

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

Baker claimed ignorance, saying: "My go-to photo when any posh people have a baby is this absurd chimpanzee in a top hat leaving the hospital."

And he added: "I didn't know which of our royal princesses had given birth."

Speaking to journalists outside his London home, he said it was "weasely for the BBC to chuck us under the bus".

He revealed that he ended his "lecture" from his bosses "with two very old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon words".

Baker, also known as a scriptwriter for his friend Chris Evans, added: "I don't think they would have done it to some university-type people who've been at Radio 4 for a long time."

He said the accusations were "absurd, grotesque", adding: "You'd have to have a diseased mind [to have done it]."

Wearing a fez, Baker told reporters outside his home: "You would have thought I'd had a shave and put something else on. I look like the downbeat racist wretch they all think I am." But he said of his sacking: "It's not as if I'd lost the breakfast show at Virgin Radio or something."

BBC Radio 5 Live previously dropped Baker's soccer phone-in show in 1997 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".

In an email to staff, 5 Live controller Jonathan Wall wrote: "Danny made a serious error of judgment on social media last night and it goes against the values we live and breathe on this radio station."

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