EXCLUSIVE: Monkey Kingdom, the NBCUniversal-owned British production company, has apologized profusely after mistaking comedian Dane Baptiste for actor Richard Blackwood during an exchange with the former.
Baptiste tweeted about the error on Monday, revealing that an unnamed TV production company sent him a press photo for his approval. Instead of sending an image of Baptiste, however, the company sent one of Blackwood.
“Tv production company just sent me press shots of myself to approve before they start the press run. This is the picture the sent ME of ME,” he wrote in a post that has now been retweeted nearly 3,500 times. “I swear on my mother’s soul they sent it.”
Deadline understands that Monkey Kingdom is the company referred to by Baptiste. The production outfit said it has spoken to Baptiste and Blackwood directly and apologized for what is understood to be an isolated error.
A Monkey Kingdom spokeswoman said: “We are sincerely sorry for our error, which was deeply offensive and inexcusable. As a production company, we are very proud of our work contributing to greater diversity on screen and behind the camera, and know that today we have unintentionally undermined important and much needed progress.
“We have apologised privately to Dane and Richard. We have also committed to redouble our efforts to be a production company that upholds the highest standards of inclusivity.”
Baptiste appeared in the very first episode of Monkey Kingdom’s ITV2 show Don’t Hate The Playaz in 2018. The hip hop comedy quiz was hosted by Jordan Stephens and was the first British television show to feature an all-Black, all-female panel.
Baptiste’s tweet shocked many industry figures. “Sweet Jesus,” replied Living With Yourself star Aisling Bea, while Bulletproof actor Noel Clarke added: “Bro!! I wanna say this isn’t real. But sadly I know it is. It never ends.” Clarke recently tweeted an email from a “high profile agent” who mistook him for an actor in Netflix series Top Boy, whose cast includes his Bulletproof co-star Ashley Walters.
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