YouTube is filled with videos of news anchors whose accidental antics made for some epic blooper reels. From mistakenly dropping bad words to interviews gone hilariously wrong, like all of us they are mere mortals. One thing a talking head always has to be on the lookout for is the infamous hot mic. That's when one's microphone is still live, which is a recipe for all sorts of things making their way into a broadcast.
For Giselle Hood — a weekend anchor at WVUA 23 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. — she thought she was free and clear when she uttered a congratulatory "slay" after her segment. Is this intrepid reporter still employed, or was she let go? Slay it ain't so!
Slay all day — except for during the news, of course.
In a TikTok posted to her account, Giselle relived the exact moment she was burned by a hot mic. The video picks up as she signing off after her segment, closing with the station's call letters. The camera then cuts back to the studio where an anchor says, "Thanks, Giselle. Three people, including a child, were shot and killed during a domestic violence incident in Orlando, Florida." As the other anchor picks up the story, we suddenly hear Giselle's voice say "slay" in a very sing-songy way.
For those who don't know, "slay" is used when someone has done something well. In this case, Giselle appears to be congratulating herself on a job well done. We love an empowered queen. Unfortunately, "slay" also means "kill." which is what the news story was about. To the untrained ear, it sounded as if Giselle was putting an emphasis on the story in a wildly inappropriate way. It all depends on the age demographic of those watching the news. Hopefully this didn't get her fired.
Was the hot-mic faux pas enough to get Giselle fired?
In a follow-up TikTok, Giselle addressed the question most asked by folks in the comments of her original video. Was she fired? The good news is, not only is Giselle still employed but so is the sound guy in charge of the mic. "I want to give you guys a behind-the-scenes look at how and why things like this can happen on the news," she said in the video.
First and foremost, Giselle waited roughly two months to post the video, probably out of respect to the victims in the news story she accidentally said "slay" over. Secondly, this particular news station has a very cool setup. "While WVAU 23 is a commercial news station, it's also owned by the University of Alabama which means it's heavily dependent on interns," she said. So instead of roll tide, they're rolling tape. Got it!
According to Giselle, the shift we saw was a weekend shift which means it's mostly interns working. "Besides the director and a couple of production people ... the anchors, the reporters (I'm a grad student), everyone is an intern," she explained. For the sound guy working that evening, it's even more fresh as he was still in training.
The moment she goes off-camera, the mic is supposed to cut off but of course that's not what happens. "Regardless, always wait to try and avoid situations like this," she warned everyone. Once Giselle was sure she was off camera, she removed her IFB (interruptible foldback) from her ear. This is what allows news anchors in the field to hear communication from people in studio, usually the director. At that point she was disconnected from the studio, or so she thought.
Giselle and the rest of the crew had no idea she could be heard so clearly until they watched the footage back. "My jaw just dropped to the floor," said Giselle. "At the end of the day it aired; there is nothing you can do about it. It was definitely a great learning lesson."