BBC Radio host Danny Baker was fired Thursday after tweeting out a cartoon Wednesday representing the new royal baby as a chimpanzee in a suit, with the caption: “Royal baby leaves the hospital.”
The firing came despite repeated explanations and apologies from the host.
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, born Monday to Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is the first mixed-race child in the royal family.
Baker, who is an award-winning host as well as a comedy writer and journalist, initially deleted the tweet and apologised for its contents.
“Sorry my gag pic of the little fella in the posh outfit has whipped some up,” he tweeted first. “Never occurred to me because, well, mind not diseased. Soon as those good enough to point out it’s possible connotations got in touch, down it came. And that’s it.”
As his name apparently kept trending, Baker tried one more time.
“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,” Baker tweeted.
“Also, guessing it was my turn in the barrel.”
Then he tried yet again, relaying an exchange at his door with a Daily Mail reporter. Baker’s irritation was showing as the reporter allegedly asked him, “Do you think black people look like monkeys?”
But hours later, shortly after he had been fired, Baker turned on his former employer for making the decision to let him go.
“The call to fire me from @bbc5live was a masterclass of pompous faux-gravity,” he tweeted Thursday. “Took a tone that said I actually meant that ridiculous tweet and the BBC must uphold blah blah blah. Literally threw me under the bus. Could hear the suits knees knocking.”
“This was a serious error of judgment and goes against the values we as a station aim to embody,” the BBC said in a statement Thursday. “Danny’s a brilliant broadcaster but will no longer be presenting a weekly show with us.”
Baker has left the BBC three times now, according to the network, and only one of those times of his own accord. In 1997, he was fired for encouraging soccer fans to torment a referee after the ref made a controversial penalty call in a big game.
Then in 2012 he resigned during a rant in which he called his bosses “pinheaded weasels” for asking him to move his show from a weekday to the weekend.
Later Thursday, Baker joked that his departure was “by mutual agreement.”