LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Veteran British broadcaster Danny Baker was on Thursday fired by the BBC after tweeting a picture of well-dressed couple holding hands with a chimpanzee in a suit, tagged with the caption “royal baby leaves hospital”.
Accusations of racism immediately flooded his timeline, as new royal baby Archie has mixed-race heritage through mother Meghan, and he later took down the picture, apologising for the “possible connotations”.
But the BBC announced Baker, 61, would be leaving his job as presenter on Radio 5 Live.
“This was a serious error of judgment and goes against the values we as a station aim to embody,” said the broadcaster.
“Danny’s a brilliant broadcaster but will no longer be presenting a weekly show with us.”
Baker, who made his name as a music writer during the punk era, began his radio career in 1989 and has also presented television quiz shows.
He hit back at his sacking, saying the BBC “threw me under the bus” and that the racial implications of his tweet “never occurred to me because, well, mind not diseased”.
“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,” he said.
But ITV news anchor Charlene White said the tweet was “unacceptable”.
“To post a pic picturing a 3-day old baby of mixed heritage as a monkey, then claim it was a joke? That’s old-school prejudice and racism at its peak,” she wrote.
Meghan and husband Prince Harry showed off Archie to the world for the first time on Wednesday after his birth on Monday.