Australian news anchor Natasha Exelby has become somewhat of a viral sensation after her on-air slip-up (video below).
Exelby was hosting a news program and was caught fiddling with her pen after a pre-recorded story finished and the feed returned to her. She quickly realized she was on live TV and was visibly shocked and embarrassed.
"Thank you for all your generous support," wrote Exelby on Twitter. "Not my finest hour. Myself and my mesmerizing pen honorably salute you!"
Exelby had recently returned to the Australian Broadcast Company station after her time as a foreign correspondent and anchor for a Turkish television station, according to News.com.au.
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ABC announced on April 10 that Exelby had been fired for her actions.
After the video picked up social media momentum, colleagues from around news media quickly came to Exelby's defense, sharing their own most embarrassing TV moments. Comments were both critical of the station's harsh actions and complimentary of Exelby's accomplishments.
"I danced in my seat in the news booth in between audio grabs, not realizing we were live streaming the news bulletin," commented a fellow broadcast journalist on Twitter. Several other colleagues tweeted their not-so-fine moments, even getting #putyourbloopersout trending on Twitter in Australia.
"I once broke down in childish giggling on Sky News after [former Australian Prime Minister] Tony Abbot said he was 'between two stools,'" wrote another TV colleague.
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The station backtracked April 11, saying Exelby would in fact not be fired and would read the morning news for an upcoming week.
"We take on-air standards extremely seriously, but we don’t expect perfection," said ABC News Director Gaven Morris, according to The Australian.
"No one would ever be punished for a blooper and, while it isn’t appropriate to publicly discuss confidential details of people’s personal work arrangements, this has not happened to Natasha."
"Media reports that Natasha has been ‘banned,’ ‘barred’ or ‘fired’ are untrue," Morris continued. "Natasha is a freelance journalist who works as a contributor. She has been rostered for various shifts and has been assured since yesterday that we want that to continue."
"While she is not currently doing any on-air shifts, this will be subject to normal performance management. I have spoken to Natasha and conveyed our regret that this has attracted such attention."
Exelby worked as a foreign correspondent in Turkey and wrote about her experiences in a January 2017 piece Australia's The Daily Telegraph.
"But after being back in Australia for two months and with two terror attacks striking Turkey in two weeks, I’m learning it can be harder to watch from afar than be in the thick of it," she wrote.