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 interview with Sky News, Baker was described as “shocked” and “upset” by the BBC’s decision, insisting that he didn’t realise the racist connotations of his initial tweet. He’s quoted as saying he wasn’t surprised by the sacking. “I’ve brought this on myself,” Baker reportedly said adding that he feels let down by people who believe his tweet was intentionally racist.
On LBC, Baker admitted to host James O’Brien he’d made “a huge blunder”, accepting that the BBC had no option but to fire him for his “unintentional mistake”.“
“I get what happened to me,” Baker told O’Brien. “The joke was about class and the idea that there was any racial bias came out of my own ignorance. I curdled that anyone could have thought that was the intent behind that photo.”
James O’Brien said he was poised to defend Danny Baker, on the grounds that “he often talks about chimpanzees dressed as famous people without any racial subtext whatsoever”.
On Wednesday Baker shared a tweet that showed a baby chimp in a posh suit being paraded by a well-dressed couple with the caption “royal baby leaves hospital”. He quickly deleted the post after many people accused the tweet of being ‘racist’ towards Harry and Meghan’s new arrival, baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the 7th in line to the throne.
Harry and Meghan, whose mother is African American, revealed the baby’s name on Wednesday.
The presenter later apologised saying he didn’t intend for the post to be seen as offensive. Responding to the backlash, 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 its possible connotations got in touch, down it came. And that’s it. Now stand by for sweary football tweets.”
Later he shared: “Would have used same stupid pic for any other Royal birth or Boris Johnson kid or even one of my own. It’s a funny image. (Though not of course in that context.)”