Legendary BBC Broadcaster Fired for Tweeting Picture of Chimpanzee as Royal Baby

A BBC broadcaster has been fired after tweeting a joke about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's newborn baby using a photograph of a chimpanzee.

Danny Baker, a veteran broadcaster and journalist in the U.K., earlier apologized for his "stupid unthinking gag," which he claimed was not meant to have any racist undertones.

"This was a serious error of judgment and goes against the values we as a station aim to embody," a BBC spokesman said in a statement. "Danny's a brilliant broadcaster but will no longer be presenting a weekly show with us."

"Royal baby leaves hospital," Baker had tweeted, attaching a black and white photograph of a well-dressed man and woman holding hands with a chimpanzee wearing a bowler hat and jacket.

After fierce backlash by users aghast at Britain's first royal mixed-race baby being seemingly compared to a monkey, the 61-year-old deleted the offending tweet and apologized.

"Sorry my gag pic of the little fella in the posh outfit has whipped some up," Baker wrote. "Never occurred to me because, well, mind not diseased. Soon as those good enough to point out its possible connotations got in touch, down it came. And that's it. Now stand by for sweary football tweets."

After posting several tweets about the soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax in the Champions League semi-final second leg being played later that evening, Baker, who presents a weekly show on BBC Radio 5 Live, posted another apology as the backlash against his tweet continued.

"Once again. Sincere apologies for the stupid unthinking gag pic earlier. Was supposed to be joke about Royals vs circus animals in posh clothes but interpreted as about monkeys & race, so rightly deleted. Royal watching not my forte."

The next day, Baker said reporters had come to speak to him directly about the tweet before saying he had been fired over it.

"Here we go. Opened door, grinning Mail hack," Baker wrote. "'Do you think black people look like monkeys?' Any other time you'd knock someone right on their arse for saying that. No mate. Gag pic. Posh baby chimp. Alerted to circs. Appalled. Deleted. Apologised. He asks again! #MailonRacism.

"Now Sky at the door," he added. "Would have used same stupid pic for any other Royal birth or [British politician Boris Johnson] kid or even one of my own. It's a funny image. (Though not of course in that context.) Enormous mistake, for sure. Grotesque. Anyway, here's to ya Archie, Sorry mate."

"Just got fired from @bbc5live," he added a short while later.

Journalist Afua Hirsch was one of those who criticized Baker's joke, dismissing his claims that he did failed to see its racist connotations.

"So not only does Danny Baker post an image comparing a baby [with] African heritage to an ape, but he has the audacity to say problem is that those of us who point out how racist it is have 'diseased minds'," Hirsch tweeted. "Classic example of blaming those of us who call out racism for its existence."

Casual racism is alive & well.

‘Celebrity’ Danny Baker depicts the royal baby Sussex as a monkey. Excellent. We’ve come so far.

It’s fair to say the monkey in the photo is a lot smarter than Danny Baker, and a lot better looking, too. pic.twitter.com/t6OFFR5wxW

— Alan Mehdizadeh (@alanmehdizadeh) May 8, 2019

Astonishing Danny Baker could think even for a second this tweet was ok. Tropes like ‘black people are apes’ still dominate everyday racist discourse, penetrating the collective conscious, with direct consequences for how we all think, feel and act. pic.twitter.com/QxTPLeD8yl

— Simon Lancaster (@bespokespeeches) May 9, 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their first appearance with their baby at the St. George's Hall at the royal family's Windsor Castle on May 8 before shortly confirming his name is Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Speaking to reporters, Markle said her son, who is seventh in line to the throne, has the "sweetest temperament."

"He's really calm. He's been the dream," she added. "It's magic, it's pretty amazing. I have the two best guys in the world, so I'm really happy."

The graphic below from Statista shows the current line of succession to the throne following the birth of Archie.

This graphic from Statista shows the line of succession to the British throne. Statista