Former footballer Stan Collymore has accused the BBC of hypocrisy, following its decision to fire former Radio 5 Live presenter Danny Baker over a ‘racist’ tweet.
The broadcaster sacked Baker on Thursday 9 May, after a ‘gag’ he posted on Twitter suggested he was comparing Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s newborn son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor to a chimpanzee in a suit.
Several celebrities agreed with his dismissal but Collymore - who presented his argument in an open letter to Baker on social media - believes that it’s “a f***ing disgrace” that he was fired by the BBC.
He pointed out the lack of black or asian presenters on the 5 Live roster, calling out fellow sport radio stations LBC and talksport for their lack of diversity too, calling it “the epitome of hypocrisy”.
“5 LIVE did their hollier [sic] than though shtick when firing you,” Collymore, who now works as a broadcaster, said on Twitter. “But tomorrow will have no black or mixed raced presenters through the day despite being the ‘home of live sport’ [and] 60% of the sportsmen and women they cover being from black and mixed backgrounds.
“These broadcasters don’t pay the price,” Collymore finished. “Operating the kind of discrimination that is much more hurtful, less visible and affects lives and jobs directly.”
“Many in the BAME community believe ‘a racist deserves what they get,” the retired England footballer states as part of the lengthy post. “But we must give ourselves enough room to make sure our own response is proportionate to the crime.
“The BBC quite simply should have said, “Dan, you know the script here, and the potential for this picture to cause concern and discomfort, but you deleted it quickly and apologised so we’ll give you, your work and credibility over 4 decades the benefit of the doubt.”
He went on to recall when Lord Alan Sugar, whose long-running reality series The Apprentice airs on BBC One, posted a photograph of Senegal World Cup football team and ‘joked’ about how he thought they resembled beach vendors in Marbella.
“It’s not all about behaviour, it’s about the ‘behaviour to how much do we need you’ Venn diagram,” Collymore continued, as he brought up Ant McPartlin, Alan Brazil and Jamie Carragher who he believes should have been sacked for other past offences.
“Danny Baker doesn’t bring us in big £, so we can let him go. It’s that simple, and also wrong. So don’t give yourself a hard time.
“We’re human. We f*** up.”
While Collymore doesn’t necessarily agree with Baker’s firing, he was sure not to defend his original tweet.
“For me, and many like me, it’s not a picture of a chimp mistakenly conflated with a mixed race baby, it’s the denial of opportunity,” he explained before pointing out how few black or Asian journalists present on mainstream radio stations currently.
“We’re living in times where rightly, the orthodoxy of power and privilege is being challenged because of the damage done to so many over many generations in the name of fun, comedy [and] banter.