News Anchor Gives the Finger to the Audience in Viral Video

A British news anchor has been caught giving the finger live on air, seemingly unaware that she was being filmed.

BBC’s midday news program began as normal on Wednesday, with the usual countdown. However, host Maryam Moshiri was clearly running on a different timer, seemingly not expecting the cameras to roll.

Moshiri—a chief presenter for both BBC News in the U.K. and worldwide—was recorded sticking her middle finger up to the camera and pulling a silly face, before immediately switching to her more professional persona to deliver the news.

BBC News presenter Maryam Moshiri, December 2023
BBC News presenter Maryam Moshiri. The 46-year-old journalist didn’t seem to know the cameras had started rolling.

“Live from London, this is BBC News,” the 46-year-old said, launching into a story about the U.K.’s former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

Newsweek has reached out to the BBC for comment via email.

Eagle-eyed viewers captured the moment, sharing the footage to social media, where it quickly went viral.

One video of the scene was shared to X—the social network formerly known as Twitter—by user @cleanfeed_ttvr, where it has so far received over 253,000 views.

Many users found the hand gesture hilarious, with @neiltaffy describing the moment as “superb.”

“Brilliant,” agreed Daniel Turner.

“A meme is born,” said Harry Muff.

“Should be standard protocol from now on,” joked James Porritt.

“Perhaps it’s like a game of ‘chicken’ and they dared to do things right up to the final second…” said Aerial Yogini. “I’d love to be a fly on the wall.”

However, others were unimpressed by Moshiri’s actions, with @thisbrowngeek writing: “The BBC is a joke.”

“Can the BBC please go one day without a scandal,” said @GBNewsSpin.

“What a way to start your last day on the job…” wrote Andrew Batchelor.

“This is how far BBC journalism has fallen,” commented Bradley Tanner. “Not a great look.”

Moshiri shared a statement to X apologizing for the incident, insisting that she was not “flipping the bird” at viewers or purposefully trying to offend anyone.

“I was having a private joke with the team in the gallery and pretending to count down as the director was counting me down from 10-0.. including the fingers to show the number,” she explained.

“When we got to one I turned finger around as a joke and did not realize that this would be caught on camera.

“I’m so sorry it went out on air! It was a silly joke that was meant for a small number of my mates.”

Moshiri’s faux pas isn’t the only on-screen mishap the BBC has had to apologize for this year.

In January, the broadcaster issued an apology after YouTube star Daniel Jarvis pranked British TV host and former soccer player Gary Lineker, playing sex noises during an episode of weekly soccer highlights show Match of the Day.