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Another famous flameout: British DJ goes off air with spectacular tirade against BBC

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LONDON - It was a spectacular exit.

A well-known British DJ reacted to news that his show had been cancelled with an extended on-air rant against what he called the "pinheaded weasels" running the BBC.

Danny Baker joins a roster of disgruntled employees who have decided — like Peter Finch's unhinged news anchor in the film "Network" — that they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore.

Baker blamed the decision to axe his afternoon show on BBC London local radio on cost-cutting middle management "who know only timid, the generic and the abacus."

"I hope their abacus comes undone and they choke on the beads," he said.

Listeners took to Twitter to support Baker, who has been a respected broadcaster for 30 years. Comedian Stephen Fry called him "the best" and slammed the BBC's decision.

The BBC confirmed that Baker was due to leave the show at the end of the year, but could not say whether he would complete his contract. The broadcaster said "Danny's decided to take a day off" on Friday.

Here are some other memorable exits:


When a JetBlue flight landed at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport one day in 2010, flight attendant Steven Slater decided he'd had enough.

Slater swore at a passenger over the plane's public address system, grabbed a beer, pulled the emergency chute and slid down onto the tarmac.

He was arrested for attempted criminal mischief and sentenced to probation, counselling and substance abuse treatment. Slater also became a hero for disgruntled employees everywhere, but later said the episode "was not indicative of who I am."


In March, executive Greg Smith quit Goldman Sachs with an opinion piece in The New York Times assailing a "toxic and destructive" culture at the investment bank and accusing it of putting profits ahead of clients' interests, "ripping off" investors and dismissing customers as "muppets."

"Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing," he wrote. "Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an axe murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence."

Smith was praised by some for exposing corruption and dismissed by others as a disgruntled employee. He turned his resignation into a book, "Why I Left Goldman Sachs."

Jake DeSantis, an executive vice-president at insurance giant AIG, also used The New York Times to resign in 2009 in a letter promising to give his $742,000 bonus to charity. The company, which had received a $182.5 billion government bailout, had been criticized for awarding $165 million in bonuses to employees.

"Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need," DeSantis said.


Social media offer new opportunities for pithy farewells to zing around the world in an instant. Sun Microsystems chief executive Jonathan Schwartz managed a classic of the genre when he quit his job in a philosophical tweeted haiku in 2010: "Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more."


With resignation letters, timing can be everything. In April, a German civil servant on the verge of retirement sent a goodbye message to colleagues claiming he had not done any work for 14 years. The surveying official in the town of Menden said that thanks to overlap and double-staffing, "since 1998, I was present but not really there. So I'm going to be well prepared for retirement — Adieu."

After the email was leaked to a local newspaper, the town's mayor pointed out that the man had never complained of being underworked during 38 years of employment.


Norwegian radio newsreader Pia Beathe Pedersen quit on air in 2010, accusing her employers of putting too much pressure on staff and saying she wanted to "be able to breathe" again.

She walked out after refusing to read the day's news bulletin because "nothing important has happened" anyway.


Associated Press writers Cassandra Vinograd in London and Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm contributed to this report. Jill Lawless can be reached at

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