Natasha Exelby lived out every news anchor's nightmare on live TV over the weekend, and to add to that nightmare, some are saying she's been sanctioned for it, per the New York Daily News. A video circulating online shows the Aussie journalist on ABC24 on Sunday, zoning out and staring at a pen while waiting for a prerecorded portion of the show to end, not knowing at first the camera had cut back to her, per the New York Post. Once Exelby realized she was back on the air, she let out a startled gasp, but quickly composed herself and continued with the broadcast. News outlets reported Exelby, a freelance journalist, was yanked from on-air segments for ABC, with some even framing it as a firing. But ABC's news director insists that's not true and that "slip-ups will happen."
"Our presenters are humans, not robots," he says, adding Exelby is simply an occasional contributor (not a full-time employee) who only does on-air segments as needed, even though at the moment she hasn't been rescheduled to do more on-air bits, per the Guardian (which cites sources saying Exelby had been "read the riot act" by management). The Australian notes she's been hired to temporarily read the morning news for a Sydney radio station while the regular host is on break. Exelby, who had supporters such as Russell Crowe rushing to her defense, thanked everyone on Twitter, adding, "Not my finest hour. Myself and my mesmerising pen honourably salute you!" (This news anchor reported on horrible news that hit too close to home.)