Maryam Moshiri, a BBC reporter, was caught on camera giving the middle finger during what seemed to be a private joke gone wrong.
A video of the event quickly went viral on the internet. It showed Moshiri making the move and raising her eyebrows as she came on TV at the start of Wednesday’s midday news show.
When Moshiri realised she was live on air, she quickly pulled her hand away and calmly began reading the news. “Live from London, this is BBC News,” she said, taking on the role of a standard news anchor.
A lot of people talked about what happened on social media, which made Moshiri take responsibility and say sorry.
Been a while since a middle finger gesture made it on to BBC News… pic.twitter.com/eS5hOJ0PYY
— Clean Feed @ The TV Room (@cleanfeed_ttvr) December 6, 2023
In an explanation post, she said that she was “having a private joke” with her friends in the gallery, which included a countdown with her fingers that ended with the possibly insulting move.
“Hey, I’m really sorry about this. In the gallery, I was making a joke with the team and acting to count down while the director did the same thing to me from 10 to 0. “The host said in a post on X that the fingers could be used to show the number.”
“When it got to 1, I smiled and turned my finger around as a joke. I had no idea that this would be caught on camera.”
I’m sorry if I hurt or insulted anyone. This wasn’t what I meant for it to happen. “I wasn’t ‘flipping the bird’ at you or anyone else,” she said.
Hey everyone , yesterday just before the top of the hour I was joking around a bit with the team in the gallery.
I was pretending to count down as the director was counting me down from 10-0.. including the fingers to show the number. So from 10 fingers held up to one.
— Maryam Moshiri (@BBCMaryam) December 7, 2023
The reporter from Tehran has been one of the main hosts on BBC News since she was promoted in February. She has worked for the British station for over 20 years.
At the same time as the incident, the UK government revealed that veteran TV executive and “woke warrior” Samir Shah was their top choice to become BBC chair.