BBC sacks producer over offensive royal baby photo
LONDON (AA) – A producer working for the BBC has been fired after he posted a photo on Twitter that compared the newborn son of the duke and duchess of Sussex to that of a baby chimpanzee.
Danny Baker, who was a broadcaster on the BBC Radio 5 Live radio station, was sacked over allegations of racism following the post.
Baker had posted a photo on the social media platform that showed a man and woman standing next to a chimpanzee dressed in a suit with the caption: “Royal baby leaves hospital”.
“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,” a spokesperson from the BBC said. Baker later deleted the post and apologized for any offense caused but was still fired on Thursday morning. Since then, he has lashed out at the media corporation arguing that he did not realise the connotations of the image he posted.
“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,” Baker said in a statement on Twitter.
Baker also accused the BBC of “throwing him under the bus” after accusing him of intentionally being racist, explaining in an interview with LBC Radio that “it was put up there as a joke about class. It was supposed to be preposterous about toffs leaving. The idea that there was any racial basis for it, it came out of my own ignorance”.
“I curdled that I thought anyone could have thought that was the intent behind that photo” he added.
Many public figures, however, support the BBC’s decision, calling Baker’s photo unacceptable and offensive as Meghan Markle, the duchess of Sussex, has African American roots. Baker’s apology has also been discredited as being half-hearted and his claims of ignorance have also attracted criticism.
“Not only does Danny Baker post an image comparing a baby w African heritage to an ape, but he has the audacity to say problem is that those of us who point out how racist it is have ‘diseased minds’. Classic example of blaming those of us who call out racism for its existence,” said Afua Hirsch, a prominent author and broadcaster, on Twitter.
Baker, who worked for the BBC since the 1980s, has had previous clashes with the corporation and has been previously sacked from the same station for inciting threatening behaviour.