Danny Baker issues formal apology for 'shamefully racist' tweet

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
Danny Baker speaking at his London home after he was fired by BBC Radio 5 Live for tweeting a joke about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son using a picture of a monkey. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)

Former BBC broadcaster Danny Baker has issued a “formal apology” for the tweet that led to him being dismissed from his Radio 5 Live job, admitting that he “f***ed up. Badly.”

Writing on Twitter, Baker shared a seven-tweet thread saying that his “genuine, naive and catastrophic mistake” of sharing an image of chimpanzee in response to the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son Archie had led to “one of the worst days of my life”.

The picture in context as presented was obviously shamefully racist,” Baker said, adding: “It was never intended so.”

Baker apologised for “the outrage caused”, aimed at “every single person who, quite naturally, took the awful connection” of comparing the couple’s biracial child to a chimp “at face value”.

Here’s Baker’s apology in full: “Good morning, everyone.

Read more: Dara Ó Briain defends Danny Baker

“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 & the news cycle I went to a file of goofy pictures & 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 a baby in a crown. But I didn't. God knows I wish had.

“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***, what had I done? I needed no lessons on the centuries slurs equating simians and people of colour. Racism at it's basest.

Danny Baker speaking at his London home after he was fired by BBC Radio 5 Live for tweeting a joke about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son using a picture of a monkey. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)

“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***ed up. Badly.

Read more: Showbiz world divided over Baker

“But it was a genuine, naive and catastrophic mistake. There is of course little media/twitter traction in such a straight-forward explanation. The picture in context as presented was obviously shamefully racist. It was never intended so - seriously who on earth would 'go there'?

“Anyway i am now paying the price for this crass & 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 was fired from BBC 5 Live on Thursday. During several press interviews in the aftermath of his dismissal, Baker admitted he’d made a mistake.

Speaking to journalists outside his London home on Thursday, he said it was “weasly for the BBC to chuck us under the bus”.

He revealed he ended his “lecture” from his bosses “with two very old fashioned Anglo-Saxon words”.

Baker added: “I don’t think they would have done it to some university-type people who’ve been at Radio 4 for a long time.”

He said the accusations were “absurd, grotesque”, adding: “You’d have to have a diseased mind (to have done it).”

Earlier, speaking on LBC, Baker admitted to host James O’Brien he’d made “a huge blunder”, accepting that the BBC had no option but to fire him for his “unintentional mistake”.