A BBC News presenter has apologized after flipping the middle finger live on air on Wednesday. Maryam Moshiri, the chief presenter at the British network, said she was “joking around a bit with the team” when she stuck up her middle finger just as the broadcast went to air.
A clip of Moshiri making the gesture was shared by several people on social media, with one video getting more than 700,000 views. The clip shows the countdown to the broadcast and Moshiri at the anchor desk. She quickly makes the gesture and then goes into delivering the first headline about former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In a post Thursday on X, Moshiri said she was pretending to count down as the director counted down from 10. She held up 10 fingers and counted down on them. When the countdown reached one, she turned her middle finger around “as a joke and did not realise that this would be caught on camera.”
“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,” she wrote. “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.” She included a “face palm” emoji, often used in embarrassment or exasperation.
BBC News did not have an additional comment on the matter.
Moshiri, a mother of three, was announced as one of the channel’s chief presenters in February, when BBC merged both of its news channels.
Her apology post on X received 2.1 million views in just a few hours and nearly 3,000 comments, with several people saying they understood it was just a joke.