Bungling BBC journalist confuses Bill Cosby with Bill CLINTON as she reports on entertainer’s release from prison – forcing Huw Edwards to make an embarrassed apology to viewers
Journalist Michelle Fleury was reporting on the entertainer’s shock prison release – but accidentally referred the former US President instead.
The huge gaffe forced top BBC News presenter Huw Edwards to apologise to viewers for the blunder.
It came just hours after Cosby, 83, was allowed to return home just two years into his 10 year sentence for sexual assault because of a legal technicality.
Journalist Michelle Fleury was reporting on disgraced entertainer Bill Cosby’s shock prison release – but accidentally referred former US President Bill Clinton instead
In the video, news anchor Huw Edwards introduces Ms Fleurry, live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to give the latest update on Cosby’s conviction being overturned.
But in her opening sentence she manages to mistake the comedian with a former in Commander-in-Chief
‘Huw, for the last two years this has been where Bill Clinton has called home,’ she says, pointing towards a State Correctional Institution behind her.
She continues: ‘But tonight he will sleep in his own bed after the bombshell decision by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court to overturn his conviction for sexual assault on the grounds that his 5th Amendment right – that is the right against self-incrimination – were violated.’
The huge gaffe forced top BBC News presenter Huw Edwards to apologise to viewers for the blunder
After finishing the report the camera cuts back to a cringing Edwards in the studio who is forced to quickly apologise.
‘Just to clarify, what was said there in Michelle’s introduction to the story, when she mistakenly said Bill Clinton instead of Bill Cosby we apologise for the mistake,’ he said.
‘The story is of course is about Bill Cosby the entertainer.’
Ms Fleury, a BBC journalist of 23 years, usually covers American business and economic news.
The misidentification was quickly picked up on social media, with one person writing: ‘Clarification I didn’t expect to hear on @BBCNews this evening, an apology for a journalist’s confusion of Bill Cosby with Bill Clinton.’
Another added: ‘That error on bbc with them referring to bill Cosby as bill Clinton will have conspiracy theorists foaming at the mouth.’
Cosby was freed on the grounds that a former prosecutor promised him that he wouldn’t be charged in 2005 and lulled him into incriminating himself.
The 83-year-old flashed a peace sign to news crews as he arrived home after being released from prison in Pennsylvania, hours after the court overturned his conviction.
He later tweeted: ‘I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence.
‘Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law. #BillCosby’
The decision to free Cosby – once known as ‘America’s Dad’ – has ‘shocked and disgusted’ his accusers.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahman described the ruling as ‘mind-blowing’, adding: ‘This is extremely rare. This is unprecedented.’