The BBC has defended a tweet by Radio 5 Live pundit Danny Baker in the aftermath of the Boston bombing in April in which he was accused by one complainant of tarnishing the dead.
The tweet from Baker – who goes by the Twitter handle @prodnose – was posted shortly after the attack in Boston on 15 April, which killed three people. The tweet said, in an apparent reference to Irish Republicanism:
Disgusting news from USA. Tragically, in 70s & 80s you couldnt drink in many Boston bars without putting money into a bucket for "the cause"
— Danny Baker (@prodnose) April 15, 2013
The tweet received 690 retweets but prompted an angry response on the social network, with some claiming the presenter had unnecessarily and insensitively connected the bombing to the Irish Troubles, which lasted decades.
@prodnose I’m going to presume this entire, ill-timed, deeply insensitive tweet was a ‘typo’ Danny.
— chris o'dowd (@BigBoyler) April 15, 2013
@prodnose So what’s the connection Danny? Are we supposed to somehow fill in a gap? You seeing something obvious that I am missing?
— Oisin Rogers (@Mcmoop) April 15, 2013
@prodnose wow. unfollow
— James Serafinowicz (@flidby) April 15, 2013
One complainant, who wished to remain anonymous, complained to the BBC that the tweet was anti-Irish and offensive - Boston has a large Irish diaspora population - but was told by the broadcaster that there was no issue.
“I understand you were unhappy with a tweet Danny posted online a couple of hours after the Boston bombings as you found this to be disgusting,” said the BBC in response to the complainant, after an initial apology for a delay in responding.
“This was simply a topical observation about Boston in the wake of the news of the bombing in the city, which Danny himself termed as "disgusting." He likewise prefaced this observation with the use of the word "tragically" and we would refute any suggestion that this was "anti- Irish" or otherwise intended to tarnish the dead or injured, nor do we believe that it did so.
“This is Danny's personal account and as such isn’t regulated but we’ve passed your comments on to the relevant editorial staff.”
Baker did not respond to any of the replies to his tweet and has made no apology.