A BBC radio broadcaster was fired Thursday (May 9) for using a picture of a chimpanzee in a tweet about the royal baby born to Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and her husband Prince Harry. Danny Baker, who had a weekly show on BBC Radio 5 Live, tweeted Thursday that he has been fired after posting an image of a couple holding hands with a chimpanzee dressed in clothes and the caption: “Royal baby leaves hospital.”
The tweet came on Wednesday, the same day Harry and Meghan posed for photos with their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. The tweet was seen as a racist reference to baby Archie’s heritage. His grandmother Doria Ragland is African American.
Baker, 61, said the posting had been meant as a gag, tweeting late Wednesday that it was “supposed to be (a) joke about royals vs circus animals in posh clothes but interpreted as about monkeys & race.” The post has since been deleted. “Enormous mistake, for sure. Grotesque. Anyway, here’s to ya Archie, Sorry mate,” he tweeted. BBC Radio 5 Live controller Jonathan Wall said in an email to staff that Baker had shown poor judgment.
“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,” Wall said. On Thursday, Baker insisted he is not racist and attacked the BBC for its handling of the controversy. He said the call to fire him “was a masterclass of pompous faux-gravity.”
When Harry was first dating Meghan, his office released a scathing letter in which the prince complained about sexist and racist media coverage and online comments about Meghan, who at the time was starring in the TV show Suits. The flap over Baker’s tweet came as Harry took a break from parental duties to travel to the Netherlands to promote the 2020 Invictus Games, an international competition he founded for injured service personnel and veterans.
Harry grinned and made funny faces for the cameras as he held up a tiny baby outfit given to him by Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. Baby Archie was introduced to his great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Wednesday. Harry and Meghan posted an Instagram picture of the meeting, which also included Meghan’s mother, who is staying with the royal couple.
One of Britain’s leading contemporary artists, Yinka Shonibare, said Thursday the baby is a heartening symbol of Britain’s multicultural society. “My parents’ generation unfortunately had a very difficult time in Britain, my parents are from Nigeria, and also the Windrush generation had a very hard time,” he said after receiving an award at Buckingham Palace.
“It’s good to know that finally we are treated as equals and everyone should be celebrated, so I think this is a natural progression for the next generation to be properly part of British society.”