BBC News anchor Maryam Moshiri flipped the bird during a live telecast on Wednesday, attributing the crude gesture to a “private joke” with staff that accidentally went public. (Watch the video below.)
The BBC’s countdown intro cut to Moshiri raising her middle finger at the camera with a comical expression. She quickly withdrew her hand and announced in a serious tone, “Live from London, this is BBC News.”
Moshiri said later the viral moment was unintentional and apologized on X (née Twitter).
She explained that as the director was counting down, she followed along with her fingers and left her middle digit up as a joke for staff when the director hit “one.” Only she didn’t realize the move was caught on camera.
“It was a private joke with the team and I’m so sorry it went out on air!” she wrote. “It was not my intention for this to happen and I’m sorry if I offended or upset anyone. I wasn’t ‘flipping the bird’ at viewers or even a person really. It was a silly joke that was meant for a small number of my mates.”
Pro tip for reporters: Try to keep your finger on the pulse of current events, not thrust upward for viewers to see.