Legendary broadcaster, Danny Baker has been fired by BBC Radio 5 Live following a controversial tweet.
Baker, who hosted a popular Saturday morning variety show on the BBC’s national news and sport station, had tweeted a picture of a 1920’s or 1930’s couple holding hands with a Chimpanzee, and the caption; “royal baby leaves hospital”.
Before the chants of “Racist!!” begin, lets put some context into this…
Danny Baker has a long history of posting picture of Chimpanzees, in fact a feature of his radio show was comparing a celebrity in the limelight with a Chimpanzee, and regularly tweeted images of Chimpanzees in various degrees of dress.
I am absolutely convinced that when Danny Baker tweeted the photo and comment, he did not at any point correlate, and put two and two together to see the connotation the picture and comment actually held.
I am certain that it wasn’t until someone pointed it out to Baker that the tweet would be seen in the light that it has – as racist – that it was immediately removed.
On Thursday morning, Danny Baker phoned into James O’Brien’s show on LBC and admitted himself that the tweet came from “his own ignorance” and was a “stupid, unthinking gag”.
Before I come onto the BBC’s reaction to this situation, I’ll finish up on Danny Baker by saying that; yes, the tweet was racist. No, the person tweeting it isn’t a racist, and no, his intention wasn’t to offend or be racist.
The BBC has become renowned in recent times for gross, knee-jerk over-reactions to situations which threaten to put the ‘unimpeachable’ brand in the spotlight.
This paranoid outlook by the BBC is somewhat misguided. Yes, by all means, send Baker on a Social Media training course at the licence-fee payer’s expense if it would make senior managers feel better.
If the BBC think that by sacking Danny Baker, that they are protecting the BBC brand, they have another thing coming… and it might come as a shock.
Danny Baker will rock up on another station in no time at all, be it LBC, TalkRADIO or even Virgin Radio, and with him goes his listeners.
There are two losers in this.
In the short-term, Danny Baker’s listeners will lose out on their weekly fix of Saturday morning fun, frolics and the Sausage Sandwich game.
In the long-term, the BBC are by far the biggest losers. Filling the two hour slot on a Saturday morning, which will doubtlessly be competing AGAINST Danny Baker wherever he ends up in the future, will be a tall order for any broadcaster.
Anyone filling that slot will also have the added pressure that the majority of Danny Baker’s listeners will be following him to his new radio home.
So the race is on, who fancies sizeable audience on a Saturday morning week-in week-out?? Begin bidding now!!!
This article first appeared on the personal blog of News on News’ editor here.