Gary Lineker calls BBC’s sacking of Danny Baker over royal baby chimp tweet a ‘knee-jerk reaction’

Baker was fired by the corporation after tweeting about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby using a photo of a chimpanzee 

Ellie Harrison
Monday 09 September 2019 12:13
Danny Baker insists he didn't realise the connotations of a tweet which got him sacked: 'Nobody invites this onto themselves'

Gary Lineker has described the BBC’s firing of broadcaster Danny Baker as a “knee-jerk reaction”.

BBC 5 Live presenter Baker was sacked by the corporation in May after tweeting about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby using a photo of a chimpanzee.

Baker was accused of racism after seemingly mocking Markle’s heritage in a now deleted post that featured an image of two people holding hands with a small monkey dressed in a suit.

He posted the picture moments after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed their son Archie, with the caption: “Royal baby leaves hospital.”

Lineker, who co-hosts the football podcast Behind Closed Doors with Baker, told The Times he thought the BBC’s decision to drop him “was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction”.

He said: “There’s history with Danny. I think he can upset people from time to time. He’s quite vociferous and opinionated.”

Lineker added: “If I thought for one minute Danny was in any way racist, I wouldn’t be doing this [podcast] with him.”

When asked whether broadcasters should be alert to racist connotations, Lineker said: “Yes. I don’t disagree and I don’t think Danny would argue with that at all. He made a massive mistake. He’s had an awful summer.”

At the time, comedian Dara Ó Briain posted a tweeted in Baker’s defence, saying: “What? Danny Baker got fired? But he immediately apologised and deleted the tweet! I mean, literally, in the event of mistakenly causing offence, what else can you do? Genuinely amazed by that.”

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