Danny Baker has been criticised for claiming that Ozzy Osbourne’s recently revealed Parkinson’s diagnosis was likely caused by the musician’s extensive drug use.
The controversial comedian, who was sacked from BBC Radio 5 Live last year after comparing a photo of a chimpanzee to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son Archie, took to Twitter shortly after the Black Sabbath singer announced he’d been informed he had the condition after taking a pretty serious tumble back in 2019.
“Not to be unsympathetic to a genuine hero,” Baker began. “But when Ozzie Osbourne says his ‘mild Parkinson’s’ is down to a fall he once had I'm thinking it must have been when he fell into a vat full of cocaine in 72 and didn't get out again for 35 years.”
Not to be unsympathetic to a genuine hero but when Ozzie Osbourne says his "mild Parkinson's" is down to a fall he once had I'm thinking it must have been when he fell into a vat full of cocaine in 72 and didn't get out again for 35 years.
— Danny Baker (@prodnose) January 21, 2020
His tweet, as expected, didn’t go down well and several of his followers took to the replies section to brand the joke “disrespectful”.
“Really helpful when discussing a situation that tears a) the person and b) their family apart. I'm not being 'woke' but you and I are old enough to remember the phrase 'it's not a laughing matter'. Cruel.” one Twitter user replied.
“He didn’t say the fall caused his Parkinson’s. He admitted he’d been hiding his condition for years,” another added, while a third linked him to the Causes of Parkinson’s disease page of the NHS website.
“FFS how much lower can you get? Watch someone you love dying of Parkinson's then see how funny you find it,” one more clapped back, as someone else simply replied: “Bit harsh.”
Talking to Yahoo News UK, Steve Ford, chief executive at Parkinson's UK, explained that “lack of awareness among the general public is one of the biggest challenges” people with the condition face and that Baker’s “misjudged” tweet goes some way to proving why.
"While there are still many unanswered questions about the causes of Parkinson's, there is no known link between Parkinson's and illegal drugs,” he added.
“What we do know is that Parkinson's is caused when dopamine producing nerve cells in the brain die, but more research is needed to understand and predict why this might be.
"Ozzy Osbourne has announced he has Parkin 2, a rare genetic type of Parkinson's and so these cells would die regardless of any lifestyle factors. We wish Ozzy all the best.”
Osbourne updated his fans on his health complications during an interview with wife Sharon on Good Morning America.
“It has been terribly challenging for us all. I had to have surgery on my neck which screwed all my nerves. I found out that I have a mild form of…” he began, before Sharon continued: “It’s Parkin 2, which is a form of Parkinson’s.
“There’s so many different types of Parkinson’s. It’s not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect certain nerves in your body.”