Journalists and viewers have unleashed a flood of news bloopers in support of ABC newsreader Natasha Exelby.
Exelby was presenting on ABC News 24 late on Saturday night when she was caught unaware as the camera cut back to her in the studio.
A short clip of her staring intently at her pen before gasping in shock at realising she was live gave many viewers a good laugh.
But a report alleged ABC management had not seen the funny side and had sacked her from any future on-air role. The ABC has since denied this ever happened.
ABC news director Gaven Morris issued a statement on Tuesday saying the broadcaster would “never ever” punish a staff member for a blooper.
“Live television is a demanding art and slip-ups will happen — our presenters are humans, not robots. We take on-air standards extremely seriously, but we don’t expect perfection,” Mr Morris said.
“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.”
Curiously, the statement also said Exelby’s future on-air roles would be “subject to performance management”.
The journalist who reported Exelby’s sacking, Holly Byrnes, stuck by her story, writing on Twitter to Gaven Morris’ account: “You know Natasha Exelby was told she would be taken off air over the blooper. For you to claim otherwise is outrageous.”
Meanwhile, dozens of newsreaders and viewers have shared reams of bloopers in support of Exelby.
— John Hunt (@JohnHunt1992) April 10, 2017
— Nicola Wood (@WoodNicola) April 10, 2017
— Flick (@flick2001) April 10, 2017
Not sure why ABC has taken Natasha Exelby off air when Virginia Trioli's on air gaffe was worse and she's still on. https://t.co/EAwINP7xtc
— Karen Sweeney (@karenlsweeney) April 10, 2017
— Fabio Alex Csar (@alexonthebus) April 11, 2017
— Luke Foley 🇦🇺 (@LukeAFoley) April 11, 2017
— Keiron (@RealKeiron) April 11, 2017
— Mark Aiston (@MarkAiston) April 11, 2017
— Mark Aiston (@MarkAiston) April 10, 2017
— Matt Doran (@mattdoran22) April 10, 2017
— Michael Genovese (@GenoveseMichael) April 10, 2017
— Steve Nash (@Nashtendo) April 10, 2017
— Studio 10 (@Studio10au) April 10, 2017