Playing With Fire – On A Screen Near You

The BBC has sacked a broadcaster for tweeting a so-called ‘racist’ picture, while a baseball team banned a fan for making a ‘White Supremacist’ sign on TV. Why do we choose to communicate our thoughts in obscure signals and images?

A fire art display


The mainstay of British broadcasting for almost 40 years lost his job with BBC Radio yesterday – for a ‘stupid unthinking’ tweet and picture likening the new, mixed-race Royal Baby to a chimpanzee. 

He has taken (again) to Twitter and other media to protest that he didn’t mean the tweet to be racist, but there is no doubt that he had to go.

Pretty much everyone who saw it would conclude that he was making a point about race, not class, and missing the (however unintended) racist connotations of his tweet was such a big, public, fuck up that the BBC had to do the right thing. 

To his credit, Baker has said that he is “rightly” paying the price for a “crass and regrettable blunder”, adding that this had been the worst week of his life. 

But he is not the only white guy having a bad week because of an ill-advised – and possibly racist – public gesture.

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