Danny Baker widely criticised after BBC sacking
Sacked BBC broadcaster Danny Baker has been widely criticised by his peers over a tweet about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby.
The broadcaster tweeted a joke about Harry and Meghan’s new baby using a picture of a monkey, before apologising and removing the post following backlash and claims of racism.
Baker was fired from his weekly show on BBC Radio 5 Live with immediate effect by the corporation, although some have called the sacking a mistake.
Broadcaster and actor Gyles Brandreth defended Baker, tweeting that “when it comes to trying to be funny, everyone makes mistakes”.
He added: “All I know is that Danny Baker @prodnose is a great broadcaster, a fine writer and one of the most decent & delightful guys in the business. I’m honoured to know him.”
In a now-deleted tweet, Talkradio host Iain Lee said that the BBC had “made the wrong decision” and that he was “gutted” for Baker “and for radio”.
Talkradio host Cristo Foufa said he was “prepared to give Danny Baker the benefit of the doubt in not having a conscious racist intent in that tweet”.
He added that if that was the case “we have to accept he’s extremely, mind numbingly, catastrophically stupid to have not realised the offence it would cause – leaving the BBC no choice.”
However, a slew of BBC stars branded Baker’s tweet “racist”.
Strictly Come Dancing professional and The Greatest Dancer judge Oti Mabuse said Baker had “shown his true colours” with the post.
She tweeted: “This is absolutely disgusting and disrespectful… Danny Baker YOUVE shown your true colours”, adding a hashtag which read “disappointed”.”
Former Strictly contestant and Red Dwarf star Danny John-Jules condemned Baker and those defending him.
He said: “Anyone defending Danny Baker is kidding themselves. Defending their OWN conscience rather than common sense.
“If go around giving it Charlie Potatoes how you’re the ‘Voice of a Nation’ ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’ WHO the f*** are you and WHICH Britain are you talking about?”
Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley Jess Phillips suggested Baker’s post pointed towards a greater problem in politics.
She said: “The problem here is that in politics abhorrent views find legitimacy and then we wonder why it leaks out in to our society. We should all have done more to delegitimize racism and prejudice in our politics.”
Comedian London Hughes, who has worked alongside Baker previously, suggested Baker “knew full well” how his tweet could be interpreted.
She said: “Danny Baker (a man I’ve worked with in the past) knew full well what that tweet was suggesting.
“No comedian in their right mind could overlook that, that’s not how our brains work. We see a joke from every angle.
“He knew it was racist, thought it was funny and posted it anyway.”
ITV News anchor Charlene White described Baker’s comments as “old-school prejudice and racism at its peak” and said it was “unacceptable” for a “trusted broadcaster working at a public service broadcaster to feed that prejudice”.
She added: “That’s not the world we live in now. Those who live in privilege must be held to account.”
Soap star Charles Venn, who appeared alongside John-Jules on Strictly in 2018, said he took “huge offence to the extremely racist and highly stupid tweet Danny Baker recently posted”.
He added: “He has clearly made his feelings known about his views on ‘Black People’ trying to make their way in the Western World…”
Baker has apologised, saying: “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.”
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.”