Danny Baker formally apologises for ‘crass’ royal baby tweet
BBC radio DJ sacked for use of chimpanzee image says he is rightly paying for mistake
Danny Baker has issued a statement to “formally apologise for the outrage I caused” after being sacked by BBC Radio 5 Live over a tweet about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s newborn son, Archie, which featured a picture of a chimpanzee.
The DJ has described the controversy over his tweet as “one of the worst days of my life”.
The post, which has since been deleted, showed a black-and-white photo of a well-dressed couple holding the hands of a suited chimpanzee with the caption: “Royal baby leaves hospital.”
Baker, 61, was sacked on Thursday morning following accusations of racism over the tweet.
In his statement released on Twitter on Friday, Baker said: “Following one of the worst days of my life I just want to formally apologise for the outrage I caused and explain how I got myself into this mess.
“I chose the wrong photo to illustrate a joke. Disastrously so.
“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!’
“Had I kept searching I might have chosen General Tom Thumb or even a baby in a crown. But I didn’t. God knows I wish had.”
The statement added: “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.
“I am aware black people do not need a white man to tell them this. Deleting it immediately and apologising for the awful gaffe I even foolishly tried to make light of it. (My situation that is, not the racism involved.) Too late and here I am.
“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****d up. Badly.
“But it was a genuine, naive and catastrophic mistake …
“I am now paying the price for this crass and regrettable blunder and rightly so. Probably even this final word from me will extend the mania. (‘Dog whistle’ anyone?) I would like to thank friends on here for their kinder words and once again – I am so, so sorry.”
Baker had earlier insisted he was no “downbeat racist wretch” after he was sacked for what his bosses said was a “serious error of judgment”.
Danny Baker: popular DJ never far from the spotlight – nor the door
He had criticised his bosses for their handling of the controversy and said he was trying to make a point about class.
The tweet came on the same day that Prince Harry and Meghan, whose mother is African American, posed with their baby son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
BBC Radio 5 Live dropped Baker’s football phone-in show in 1997 after it was alleged he had incited threatening behaviour after a referee awarded a controversial penalty in an FA Cup tie. The broadcaster’s then news chief, Tony Hall, who is now the director general, said Baker had crossed “the line between being humorous and controversial and being insulting”.
His BBC London 94.9 show was axed in 2012, days before he was due to be inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame.