A top Russian newscaster has been fired after she apparently gave the finger to President Obama during a news telecast, the U.K. publication The Telegraph reports.
Video of the incident, which can be seen here, was widely posted online, going viral in Russia and in the West, the story reports. The video shows Tatyana Limanova mentioning the name Barack Obama and then extending her middle finger.
The incident has been an embarrassment for Limanova’s employer, REN TV, the story reports.
The Telegraph reports: “REN TV, a privately owned channel controlled by associates of Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, said on Thursday it had decided to take her off air calling her actions ‘unacceptable’ and ‘unprofessional.’”
REN TV issued a statement saying: "On 14 November during the ‘News 24’ programme the presenter Limanova made an unacceptable gesture that was a synonym for an offensive expression," it said in a statement.
The statement adds: "It had no subtext and was not linked with the news that Limanova was reading at that moment.”
The channel said the gesture was intended for Limanova’s colleagues in the studio, but added that it had no choice but to fire her.
Previously, sources close to the channel said the newscaster thought she was off camera doing a voiceover at the time, and meant to flip off studio technicians who were trying to throw her off, the story reports.
REN TV reaches 120 million viewers, the piece notes.