News Anchor Caught Giving Middle Finger to Camera in On-Air Gaffe

She said she was pretending to count down with her fingers.

At the beginning of a BBC news broadcast, an anchor was accidentally caught giving the middle finger as part of a "silly joke" intended for friends and not the general public. At the start of the BBC News bulletin at noon on Wednesday, Maryam Moshiri, one of BBC News's chief presenters, was seen raising her eyebrows with her middle finger at the end of the program's recognizable countdown.

As soon as she had lowered her hand and covered her expression, she began to read out headlines seriously and professionally about Boris Johnson's appearance at a Covid inquiry. She apologized on X Thursday morning and said she'd been playing with the team, pretending to count down with her fingers.

"When we got to one, I turned [my] finger around as a joke and did not realize that this would be caught on camera," she wrote. "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. It was a silly joke that was meant for a small number of my mates," she said with a "face palm" emoji.

The tweet was greeted with some criticism, with some people saying that it was unprofessional and calling for the BBC's funding to be cut. Still, Moshiri was also flooded with positive reactions from people who thought it was amusing, one of them writing: "As a BBC licence payer I demand more of this type of behaviour."

There was some curiosity later regarding how the Maryam Moshiri video went viral, appearing on news outlets as far away as Australia. There is also a comment on X written by a photographer and a journalist, Robert Coxwell, who was the gallery producer for the show. 

He said it was "regrettable" that someone had "found the need to amplify it." Coxwell added that only two people on X had noticed the issue but "went largely ignored for 10 hours. Until someone went on to a BBC system, clipped it up, and sent it out."

According to Coxwell, it was 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." Then he tweeted: "I am so deep into the workings of Autorot I can't tell you. Christmas could be coming early for someone!"