A British BBC radio host has been fired after he tweeted out a photo of a chimpanzee in a suit with the caption: “Royal baby leaves hospital.”
The photo, shared by Danny Baker on Wednesday following the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son, was immediately decried as racist, with it seen as mocking Markle, who is biracial, as well as her son, who is the first multiracial baby in the monarchy’s recent history.
Facing public outcry, Baker deleted the photo and issued several apologies, calling the tweet “ridiculous, stupid and idiotic.” He denied being racist.
“Was supposed to be joke about Royals vs circus animals in posh clothes but interpreted as about monkeys & race, so rightly deleted,” he said on Twitter. “Royal watching not my forte. Also, guessing it was my turn in the barrel.”
He later complained about his firing, insisting that he’s been thrown under a bus by his former employer.
A BBC spokesperson, who confirmed Baker’s termination to HuffPost UK, called him a “brilliant broadcaster” but one who committed “a serious error of judgment.”
It’s the second time that Baker has been fired by BBC Radio 5 Live, the BBC’s national radio service, and the third time that he has left the BBC, according to the company.
He was reportedly first fired in 1997 after encouraging soccer fans to torment a referee over a penalty that the official implemented during a competition. He denied inciting fans to attack the referee but said that he would have understood if they did.