Tatyana Limanova, one of Russia's most popular and respected newscasters, has been fired from her job at REN TV, after a video of her appearing to give President Barack Obama the middle finger on live TV went viral on the internet.
The incident occurred on Nov. 14, during a segment about Russian President Dmitry Medvedev assuming the chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. Obama had held the position previously, and Limanova raised her middle finger as she read Obama's name.
Limanova said that the incident was an embarrassing misunderstanding -- she did not know that she was on camera and was directing the gesture at studio technicians. "I thought I was out of shot," she said, according to The Telegraph.
The TV station, however, decided to remove her from her position on air. "This does not diminish her guilt and cannot be considered an excuse. The REN TV management views this action as the gravest violation of on-air discipline and a demonstration of unprofessionalism," the channel said, according to RIA.
"A decision has been taken that T Limanova cannot and will not continue to work on the REN TV channel as a presenter," the station said in a statement, according to The Daily Mail.
"Obviously the channel's management decided to view this clumsy curious incident seriously and I completely accept and respect that. Some people viewed it with irony, while others did not. I understand that I damaged the channel and perhaps offended some of the viewers."
Limanova told RIA that English-language media took the video out of context.
"It is a brilliant example of how facts can be interpreted. I have an incredibly positive opinion of President Barack Obama and my gesture had no relation to the respected president of the United States," she told The Telegraph.