BBC right to sack Danny Baker?

BBC radio DJ fired for "racist" royal baby tweet

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Should the BBC fire Danny Baker for "racist" royal baby tweet?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Danny Baker has been fired from the BBC after posting a "racist" royal baby tweet.

The radio DJ tweeted about the new-born Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, son of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, using a photo of a chimpanzee.

The 61-year-old has been accused of racism given that the Duchess of Sussex is mixed race. He deleted and apologised for the tweet.

The Claim

The Guardian's Gaby Hinsliff says that at a time when resurgent racism infests the public debate, mistakes like Baker's cannot be excused.

She argues: "Baker was sacked not for daringly pushing the boundaries but for cheerfully blundering through them without even noticing they existed, and that’s just not funny."

Hinsliff explains that as a radio presenter, Baker is "paid handsomely" to be part of popular culture - and when your job is keep up with the times, "ignorance is no defence".

She concludes that as presenter, "paid by the taxpayer to be the face of a national institution", he is admittedly held to tougher standards - but there can be "graver consequences when someone in his very public position gets it wrong".

Hinsliff adds: "And that's no laughing matter."

The Counterclaim

However, Dara Ó Briain has defended Baker, criticising the BBC for sacking the radio DJ, the Independent reports.

The comedian tweeted: "What? Danny Baker got fired? But he immediately apologised and deleted the tweet!

"I mean, literally, in the event of mistakenly causing offence, what else can you do? Genuinely amazed by that."

He said that he was not excusing the original tweet, but hoped that if he "f--ked up" himself, people would accept an apology.

Ó Briain added: “I just don’t think Danny is some racist who did that deliberately, no matter how it came out. You say f--k him, I say forgive him, but we agree on way more.

"I just hate the ‘it’s over- cancel him’ culture of total certainty here, and I think it makes all judgments total and final."

What did Danny Baker tweet, and what has he said?

Baker tweeted an image of a couple holding hands with a chimpanzee dressed in clothes with the caption: "Royal Baby leaves hospital".

The radio DJ, who presented a show on BBC Radio 5 Live, has expressed his regret over the tweet, saying that he is "so, so sorry" and wanted to formally apologise. He described it as "one of the worst days of my life".

He said that "it was a genuine, naive and catastrophic mistake", publishing a lengthy apology on Friday.

Baker wrote: "In attempting to lampoon privilege [and] the news cycle, I went to a file of goofy pictures [and] saw the chimp dressed as a Lord and thought, ‘That’s the one!'

"Minutes later I was alerted by followers that this royal baby was of course mixed race and waves of panic and revulsion washed over me.

"F--k, what had I done? I needed no lessons on the centuries slurs equating simians and people of colour. Racism at it’s basest [sic].

The 61-year-old added: "I would like once and for all to apologise to every single person who, quite naturally, took the awful connection at face value. I understand that and all of the clamour and opprobrium I have faced since. I am not feeling sorry for myself. I f--ked up. Badly.

"Anyway i am now paying the price for this crass and regrettable blunder and rightly so.

"I would like to thank friends on here for their kinder words and once again – I am so, so sorry."

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