Whoops! BBC presenter apologizes for flipping the bird on live TV

The BBC's Maryam Moshiri says she was getting ready for a live broadcast and was doing a pretend countdown with her fingers. Screengrab / BBC

A BBC news anchor has apologized for flashing her middle finger during a live news broadcast, saying her obscene gesture was an inside joke and not intended for the public to see.

The BBC’s Maryam Moshiri says she was getting ready for a live broadcast Wednesday and was doing a pretend countdown with her fingers as the director was counting down the seconds until airtime.

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“When we got to 1 I turned finger around as a joke and did not realise that this would be caught on camera,” she wrote in an apology posted to X Thursday.

“It was a private joke with the team and I’m so sorry it went out on air! 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,” she continued, add it was a “silly joke” meant to amuse a “small number of my mates.”

Moshiri’s apology seems to be well-received, with many viewers chiming in to say the flub was more amusing than offensive and gave them a good laugh.

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“I thought it was the funniest thing I’ve seen on the BBC in ages,” wrote one supporter.

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“You’re a legend, this stuff happens, so ignore anything other than people laughing with you,” agreed another.

Others, too, applauded Moshiri’s quick composure.

“Switching within a second to read the news was even more impressive,” one supporter wrote about the recovery.

“Personally, I think you should be an actress, the skill and range you had switching in that one second was genuinely impressive,” wrote another.

But despite the support, it appears there’s an element of mystery as to how the clip went viral in the first place.

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According to The Guardian, Robert Coxwell, the gallery producer for the episode, wrote on X that it was “regrettable” someone “found the need to amplify it,” adding that for 10 hours after the flub it “went largely ignored” on social media.

“Until,” he continued in the now-deleted tweet, “someone went on to a BBC system, clipped it up and sent it out.”

Coxwell said it had been taken from an internal archive system called Autorot, adding: “Luckily Autorot provides a log of who did what because it triggers an email to say the clip they wanted is ready to be downloaded.”

He then tweeted: “I am so deep into the workings of Autorot I can’t tell you. Christmas could be coming early for someone!”

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