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BBC fires long-time broadcaster over royal baby tweet with image of chimpanzee

BBC broadcaster Danny Baker has been fired over what he called a "stupid unthinking gag pic," BBC News reported Thursday. Baker tweeted an image of a chimpanzee with a caption reading, "Royal Baby leaves hospital."

Many Twitter users criticized Baker and the black and white image, which shows a woman holding the chimp's hand. It was seen as racist and has since been deleted.

A BBC spokesperson called it "a serious error of judgement." The BBC said the tweet "goes against the values we as a station aim to embody" and said that while Baker is a "brilliant broadcaster," he will no longer work for the network, BBC News reported.

Baker tweeted an apology after his initial tweet went viral. "Was supposed to be joke about Royals vs circus animals in posh clothes but interpreted as about monkeys & race, so rightly deleted," he wrote. "Royal watching not my forte. Also, guessing it was my turn in the barrel."

The 61-year-old, who hosted a weekend radio show, tweeted again after he was fired on Thursday. "Just got fired from @bbc5live. For the record - it was red sauce. Always," he wrote.

In another tweet, he called his firing "a masterclass of pompous faux-gravity." He said the BBC "literally threw me under the bus. Could hear the suits' knees knocking."

Baker reiterated that sentiment while speaking to reporters outside of his house, the BBC reported. He also reportedly said, "I'm annoyingly ebullient and if you're accused of the kind of grotesque racism but you're not, you don't wring your hands. Ill advised, ill thought out and stupid. But racist? No, I'm aware how delicate that imagery is."  

Danny Baker
Danny Baker speaking at his London home after he was fired by BBC Radio 5 Live for tweeting about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son using a picture of a monkey. Press Association via AP Images

This the second time BBC Radio 5 Live has fired Baker and it marks the third time he has left the BBC, it reported. He was fired in 1997 for encouraging soccer fans to make a referee's life "hell." And in 2012 he resigned while on air and called his bosses "pinhead weasels," BBC News reported.

Meghan and Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, introduced their newborn son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world on Wednesday in a tightly-controlled debut at Windsor Castle.  

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