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BBC News Anchor Apologises After Giving Middle Finger Live on Air

Maryam Moshiri regrets that the British public witnessed her “joking around.”

Maryam Moshiri, a BBC Presenter, has gone viral on social media after accidentally flashing her middle finger on live television.

The incident occurred during the BBC News bulletin on Wednesday lunchtime. After the programme’s countdown, viewers witnessed Moshiri holding up her middle finger to the camera, sporting raised eyebrows and a sarcastic smile.

As the broadcast’s recognizable music began to play, Moshiri quickly lowered her hand and assumed a more serious expression. She began the broadcast with, “Live from London, this is BBC News,” before reading headlines about Boris Johnson’s involvement with the ongoing Covid inquiry.

Moshiri’s apology

The presenter took to X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday to apologize for her “silly joke.” Moshiri explained,

“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.

When we got to 1, I turned my finger around as a joke and did not realize this would be caught on camera.”

“It was a private joke with the team, and I’m so sorry it went out on air! I did not intend 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.”


Responses to Moshiri’s apology were varied. One viewer wrote, “You giving the ‘bird’ sums up BBC and its feelings to Brits and us who pay the license fee. You should resign or be sacked for this total disrespect.”

However, Moshiri also received plenty of light-hearted responses, with many stating that they do not need an apology. One X user took it as an opportunity to create a “New meme template”:

It is clear from Moshiri’s own profile on X that she can find humor in moments like this. Her header photo uses an image from a BBC broadcast last September, in which she used her hands to improvise a visual aid for a blue supermoon. Joining her hands together to create a circle, she apologized to the viewers for not having an image to show them.

Famous BBC Mistakes

This is not the first time something like this has happened live on a BBC Broadcast. BBC News has uploaded several of these funny blunders to their YouTube channel, highlighting the humor in making mistakes live on air.

In 2014, the broadcast service uploaded a video of weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker. Unable to regain composure after an initial mistake, he giggled through his entire broadcast. Part of the caption read, “Well done for making it though.”

Some have suggested that the offensive nature of Moshiri’s gesture makes this a more serious matter than other funny gaffes. Others suggest the moment was light-hearted, writing it off as inoffensive and funny. Let us know in the comments below what you think of the slip.

Written By

Madison Collier (she/her) is a current finalist reading for BA English Language and Literature at Oxford University. Madison writes on news, culture, and entertainment, but specialises in music and identity.

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