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Thursday 9 May 2019

Danny Baker - Just Say Sorry

Part of the Royal Family has been the target of the press’ carefully pitched low-level nudge-and-wink racism from the word go: as soon as Prince Harry began dating (now) former actor Meghan Markle, those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet did not take long to kind out that her mum was an African-American. Nor did the far-right. So one can be certain that those working in the media will know this.
That shirt's well offensive, too

And that means when veteran broadcaster Danny Baker took to Twitter last night, the idea he didn’t know was not going to wash. Nevertheless, as the BBC has reported, “The now deleted tweet, which has been circulated on social media, showed an image of a couple holding hands with a chimpanzee dressed in clothes with the caption: ‘Royal Baby leaves hospital’”. The Beeb took immediate action, and sacked Baker on the spot.
He’s a football fan. He knows what equating chimps to black and mixed race people means - that’s how racist fans racially abuse players. It should have been stamped out years ago, but as Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling - another target for low-level and persistent press bigotry - showed recently, it still happens. Even so, Baker decided to Jokesplain his way out of it. Except it didn’t work.
Here we go. Opened door, grinning Mail hack. ‘Do you think black people look like monkeys?’ Any other time you'd knock someone right on their arse for saying that”. The Mail may be hypocrites. But Baker was still bang to rights. “Now Sky at the door. Would have used same stupid pic for any other Royal birth or Boris Johnson kid or even one of my own. It's a funny image. (Though not of course in that context.)” Keep digging.
The call to fire me from @bbc5live was a masterclass of pompous faux-gravity. 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 … Now it's started raining. Perfect”. The self-awareness had an early flight to catch?
How did those who have been on the receiving end of racial abuse view Baker’s less than total apology? Charlene White, who was given a load of it in 2013 when she was discovered not to be wearing a poppy during October, was unimpressed. “Meghan has been subject to horrific/veiled racist abuse & prejudice online and in print since the start of their relationship. Of which we are ALL aware”. And her conclusion?
To post a pic picturing a 3-day old baby of mixed heritage as a monkey, then claim it was a joke? That’s old-school prejudice and racism at its peak. And for a trusted broadcaster working at a public service broadcaster to feed that prejudice? It’s unacceptable”.
Natalie Rowe caught Baker’s appearance on James O’Brien’s LBC show. She was also unimpressed. “#DannyBaker should stop moaning that he was thrown under the Bus by the BBC and concentrate more on taking full responsibility for his Tweet, he didn’t come across too well whilst talking to you just now, he showed little remorse and more justification”. And Priyamvada Gopal was not buying the “intent” argument.
How many times do we have to say 'intent' is neither here nor there?” And the idea that someone has to be offended? “But it's not about offence either. You do not compare people with black heritage to chimpanzees because it is self-evidently part of race thinking and eugenics. So even if no one takes offence, it is wrong”. Full stop, end of story.

The time of Danny Baker at the BBC was for a time, but not for all time.
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Mark said...

Totally thrown by this, just didn't expect it of Danny Baker. I cannot understand how, for one moment, he didn't realise the implication of his tweet. Dara O'Briain, a comedian I used to have a lot of respect for but for the past year or so I've realised is far too in love with himself and his showbiz chums, is leaping to his defence and doing his usual sneery dismissals of anyone saying otherwise on twitter.

The most astonishing thing about this however is the BBC's constant ability to play favourites; Baker makes a racist tweet, off he goes. Yet Alan Sugar does it and no one bats an eyelid at the corporation. Meanwhile David Baddiel, a man who thinks its OK to black up to ridicule a professional footballer ethnicity, is routinely wheeled out by them to say how bad racism/anti-semitism is

Stephen said...

Baddiel did that fucking years ago, and it was about the way the bloke wore his hair, not the colour of his skin. Still, at least one reply to every tweet he makes about racism will bring it up, and it's usually from people who don't mind racism, whose feeds are full of racist tweets and support for racists.

O O O'Hanraha'hanrahan said...

"BBC to continue fight against racism by giving Danny Baker’s radio show to Nigel Farage" News Thump 9 May 2019.
Is it satire or a prediction?

Mark said...

Stephen, it may have been done 'fucking years ago' but it doesn't excuse it, because it wasn't OK all those years ago either. We're not talking about the '60s or the '70s, we're talking about the supposedly enlightened, PC 1990s. We'd come through the alternative comedy circuit of the late '70s and '80s and it should have been blindingly obvious to every comedian working at that point that blacking up was not on. They joked about his dreads, an integral part of his ethnic identity, and if Baddiel claim he didn't appreciate the racial significance of doing that, whilst changing the colour of your skin with make-up, then he's lying or he's are very stupid. As London Hughes has said today in a tweet re Baker: "No comedian in their right mind could overlook that, that’s not how our brains work. We see a joke from every angle. He knew it was racist, thought it was funny and posted it anyway" And that's exactly what Fantasy Football did too.

You might want to point out people who you claim are racists reminding Baddiel of it, but let's think about Lee himself and what he said only last year: “I don't think people appreciate the possible harm it can cause. Not everyone has the make-up to deal with that, and they shouldn't have to" He also commented on how his family were on the receiving end of what he called 'racial stuff' as a result, leading to them not being comfortable going to games to watch him play.

Mark said...

Also if you black up, you are purposefully poking fun of the colour of someone's skin. The Black and White Minstrels had gone to the wall by the 1990s, Baddiel should have known it was wrong. He did, but they just thought it was new laddish to be a bit edgy for their reputation's sake and tip the wink at the jeering crowds on the stands - the type of supporter who thought nothing of racial slurs anyway.

Anonymous said...

I'm also baffled by Baker's tweet and non-apology. Is he racist? I don't necessarily think so. But he has to accept this was a grave error of judgement. But how come, whenever someone like Andrew Neill offends someone on twitter the BBC's line is always 'it's his opinion, not ours and we have no control over his social media account' ? Baker's being made an example of and it stinks that it is not one that goes across the board

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Danny Baker is racist I have been listening to him for years and not once have I heard him slip into racism of any kind.
yes he was stupid or naive but the instant sacking stinks to high heaven, why is Alan Sugar still employed, why is Nigel Farage on question time tonight when parties who actually have MP's are not.

Selective BBC sack a man who has no track record of racism from what I can see but ignore far more blatent racism from people like David Baddiel who is so respected that he is allowed to come on the BBC and make unsupported claims about Jeremy Corbyn

This is not about racism, this is about the royal family and its relationship with the BBC.

I have to be honest about this, I am getting to a stage where I think that racism has become so weaponised that I no longer care about it, it is being used as an excuse to ignore things that are physically hurting people.

I know you are trying to do the right thing Tim and there isn't much in your post that I disagree with, but I am beginning to think that this stuff is bullshit and is playing into the hands of malicious and cynical people who are using it to further their own agendas.

I have been an anti-rascist all my life and I am in my 50s now, maybe I have just reached the age where I become a rascist and vote Tory.
(Not voting Tory by the way)but this stuff is just petty and pointless,by all means rebuke him and warn him about his future conduct but to sack him in this manner feels like a public relations excercise, whilst all around the BBC right wing nutters are not only given a platform to spout their vile opinions but are also placed into high ranking positions, so they have control over editorial content.

I am not saqyingh you are wrong Tim but I cant help feel that we get outraged about something like this, all we are doing is giving succour to the real fascists in our midst

Anonymous said...

I'm largely with Danny Boy on this one. Yes, it was stupid and it was obvious what comparisons people would draw but had he posted it in relation to a different birth nobody would have batted an eyelid. What Sugar posted recently can only be taken as racist and he's still there. Definite double standards.

Anonymous said...

I do agree John Smith, and I do believe that crying racist is a tactic employed now simply to shut those with a different opinion to you down, specifically the rampant case of - as MidWales Mike said on a recent blog post - antisemitis!

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

Double standards maybe, but you can deal with Sugar later. This was the most tone-deaf bit of stupidity from someone who could not possibly, given where he's been for the last 40 years, be that tone-deaf.
He's a man not without ego and that entitlement which manifests as laddism: ie we can be fucking stupidly intolerant because we're the authentic representation of English (or worse, Laaaahndon) maleness. Buoyed up by the inadequates who need a representative like him, he goes with it.

mirandola said...

Agree with John Smith on this totally.

Its just a hysterical lynch mob.

Baker has a long history of comic tropes using chimpanzees to ridicule the rich and the powerful. Archie was lampooned this way not because he's a quarter black but because he's a royal.

Anonymous said...

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

I understand where you are coming from, but I was always taught "theres no such thing as a dirty book, its just the way you read it.

At this moment in time we seem to have competitions about who can be most outraged, and hoards of journalists and twitterati who are actively looking for things they can be point out as racist, sexist homophobic and anything else.

We have whole new sets of words that we can no longer use for fear of being labelled one of the above, If I say Jess Phillips is fat, that will not be taken as fair comment, but classed as misogyny,
If I make a mistake and confuse one black person with another, this is not a mistake, its racism,
if I declare that Graham Norton is completely unfunny, that is no longer criticism, it is Homophobia,
and dont even talk to me about anti-semitism, there are so many anti Jewish tropes that I can't keep count of them all, Frankly it seems to me that if you are in the public eye and on the left in particular, any sentence with the word Jew or Zionist and worst of all Israel in it is going to be mined by teams of professionally offended journalists.

Now I am going to go away and lie down, because I actually in lots of words, have just said "its Political correctness gone mad" and that is a place I never wanted to be in my life, but here we all are.

By the way do you rise at ten thirty?

Mark said...

BBFB, the time to deal with Sugar has past. It should have been dealt with just as promptly as Baker. more so really, because Sugar's tweet was unequivocally racist. But as The Apprentice makes more for the beeb than Baker's radio show they chose to ignore it. Still, if he slips up again then the calls for action should be overwhelming.

Neil said...

Lots of whataboutery in these comments. If the BBC hadn't sacked him the story would have dominated the news agenda for weeks causing even more upset to the parents of the baby. If he keeps his mouth shut he'll be back in a couple of years, see Jonathan Ross' rehabilitation as an example.

Sam.B said...

Of FFS "Mark" is spot on about this and Danny Baker's tweet was so offensive there is no coming back from it. He got the boot and rightly so. Just sickening to read the support he is getting even after his tawdry attempt to non-apologise and Dara O'Briain is another arrogant frigging celebrity who seems totally devoid, living in an ivory tower of minor celebrity, of the intense harm and hurt a disgusting photo like Baker's causes.
Forgotten are the 1000s of ugly racist vicious attacks black Brits have faced over the decades, forgotten is the white privilege we with fair-skin enjoy every damned day to such an extent we don't often see our own inadvertent racism and if we are alerted to it, never actually think how it must affect non-white Brits rather we may feel somewhat foolish or embarrassed but you know- we are NOT hurt by our own casual racism because it's not directed at us: the target is. What recourse do black people have?. None. The BBC was entirely correct by booting Baker immediately and even in his instant sacking Baker's arrogance- the arrogance of minor celebrity (as exhibited by Dara O'Briain who attempts a "I'm not racist because I'm Irish and the Irish have been the butt of Irish jokes") is equally vacuous in his defence of Baker attacking Tweeters for daring to know what Baker was thinking while at the same time, declaring he knew what Baker meant.

Black people have had this for generation after generation. We may acknowledge we made a racist remark and forgive ourselves- Baker makes one for 100,000s to see and ONLY when alerted to it, twitter now being instant, does he attempt a tacky apology.

Forgotten, totally forgotten are the feelings of 10, 12, 15 year old black children who are told 100s of times a week by ingrained racists they are worth less because of their colour. They know this from birth because their parents knew it.

As for claiming Baker isn't a racist- it's immaterial. His excuses were just insulting. Somewhere in the back of his mind, especially as a football fan, is the knowledge that black footballers are called apes and monkeys every day- and as recently as a few days ago as the link below shows.
Something made him somehow post the most insulting photo he could possibly post.
The BBC was correct in his instant sacking.
Any person in a position of power like Baker should NEVER be on the air again. Those he insulted can never forget.
Football racism: 'Monkey chants aimed at children'

And yes, the likes of Alan Sugar should have been booted ages ago but that doesn't mean Baker gets a free ride. This has to be a strict policy of zero acceptance of any hint of racism at the BBC. We get it every day in our trashy tabloids and it will take years for racism to be bred out of us.
Danny Baker put the clock back by a few years. Good riddance.

Mark said...

Thanks Sam.B
You know what pisses me off about Dara 'if I was chocolate I'd eat myself' O'Briain? How he was determined to swat all comers aside until black comic Gina Yashere arrived and said 'fuck that', then it was suddenly 'I have to go and do family stuff, but I love you and agree with you on way more stuff, please put a good word in for me in America' fawning bollocks


Suffice to say my already lowered opinion of him just got a whole lot lower.