Radio DJ Danny Baker fired by BBC after 'stupid' royal baby monkey tweet

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry

Broadcaster Danny Baker says a tweet he posted about Prince Harry and Meghan's newborn son using a picture of a monkey was "stupid", but the idea he intended to be racist is "grotesque" after he was fired by BBC Radio 5 Live.

Radio DJ Baker tweeted about the birth, posting a black and white photo showing a well-dressed man and woman holding hands with a suited chimpanzee, with the caption: "Royal baby leaves hospital."

Meghan, whose mother Doria Ragland is African American, gave birth to her first child on Monday.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced on Wednesday they have named their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Speaking to reporters outside his south-east London home, he said "he had no idea" it was the Duchess of Sussex's baby, "otherwise you wouldn't do it."

The Radio DJ confirmed his sacking in a tweet on Thursday, saying: "Just got fired from @bbc5live. For the record - it was red sauce. Always."

Baker told reporters: "It was up there only about eight minutes or something, until somebody I follow said Dan you know...she's mixed race.

"And I took it down, and that's it, as I said Occam's Razor [the most simple explanation is usually correct], that's it."

The tweet has since been deleted and Baker apologised in a series of posts, but a BBC spokesman said the tweet "goes against the values we as a station aim to embody" and was "a serious error of judgement."

The spokesman added: "Danny's a brilliant broadcaster but will no longer be presenting a weekly show with us."

After announcing he had been fired, Baker criticised the way it was handled by his radio bosses, 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."

In comments to reporters he said the idea put to him by BBC bosses that he meant to be racist by the tweet is "grotesque."

He said: "I'm aware of the trope down the years of monkeys and race but the idea that I went with that anyway is just absurd, grotesque and you'd have to have a diseased mind [to have done it.]"

"I thought the way they dealt with it was pretty poor. Ringing us up with portentous tones," Baker added.

"They're trying to lecture us and after 15 or 20 seconds I'm afraid I ended it with two very old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon words.

"I'm not going to have them tell me there was any intent."

Baker had been fired before by BBC Radio 5 Live, in 1997 when he was accused of inciting football fans to show threatening behaviour, but was reinstated four years later.

The tweet triggered a huge social media backlash and allegations of racism, which prompted the presenter to delete the post and apologise.

In a tweet he wrote: "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."

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

He said in a follow-up tweet: "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.) Enormous mistake, for sure. Grotesque.

"Anyway, here's to ya Archie, Sorry mate."

Baker said the idea he intended to be racist with the tweet is 'grotesque.' Credit: PA