A reporter who forgot to press ‘mute’ during an online press conference while ranting about the NSW Deputy Prime Minister says she was ‘p***ed’ for not answering her question clearly.
Skaie Hull said she waited about an hour to ask John Barilaro if Covid-19 patients from western Sydney were transferred to Gosford Hospital during his daily regional media briefing on Tuesday.
When he declined to comment on the reports, claiming it was “scare-mongering” and turned off her camera, the Central Coast News reporter lost her cool within earshot of Mr Barilaro and about 90 other news stations.
‘Same, ‘terrifying freakin’ rumours’. He set his camera on me, so I’m terrified,” Mrs Hull said furiously. “He did that on purpose.
The 29-year-old told Daily Mail Australia she was furious as she had been trying to get a straight answer about Covid patients in Gosford for weeks.
Central Coast News reporter Skaie Hull (pictured) shared her feelings on Tuesday about what she thinks of NSW Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro
“We’ve tried to get information, but we can’t,” she said.
“And then when we try to ask a question and they say we’re ‘spreading fear’ and ‘spreading rumours’…it’s frustrating.”
Ms Hull explained that reporters are often on Zoom conversations for more than an hour – “you have to wait your turn and then your question is not taken seriously,” she added.
During the outburst, Mr. Barilaro intervened to let her know that everyone on the phone could hear her, explaining that he hadn’t intentionally turned off the camera.
“Skaie, we can all hear that and that’s not right, I didn’t turn off your camera. I was actually looking for the next question,” he said during the awkward conversation.
“So Skaie, with everything you’ve said, I’m disappointed. And everyone else heard it too, just to let you know.”
He turned his attention to the next reporter, who boldly promised to speak his mind in the face of the deputy prime minister.
NSW Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro claims he did not intentionally turn off his camera during a press conference
Pictured: Central Coast News reporter Skaie Hull raved about the NSW premiere with her microphone on during a Zoom call
Ms Hull said she received a call from someone in the Deputy Prime Minister’s office immediately after the conference to tell her that the camera actually went down while he was looking for the next question.
She didn’t believe that was the case at first but has since contacted Mr Barilaro and says they are back on good terms.
“I told him next time I would mute my mic, and he said ‘don’t worry, we all do it,'” she laughed.
Ms Hull didn’t realize Prime7 Wagga journalist Samantha Costin shared the awkward video in the first place, and didn’t find out until Tuesday night when colleagues started messaging her with statements of support.
“Hot tip: During John Barilaro’s regional daily briefing with a few dozen other journalists, she mutes the microphone before ranting at colleagues asking questions,” Ms Costin captioned the footage.
Skaie Hull has hit back after her heated exchange with John Barilaro. ‘I am certainly not a journalist who spreads rumors – I am a community voice’
Ms Hull explained: ‘I got messages saying ‘good for you’ and ‘you said what you really wanted to say, don’t worry’ – I was like ‘oh baby’.’
“But I’ve been inundated with sweet messages – the community support has been amazing and our phone went off.”
After realizing the footage had gone viral, Ms Hull added context to the saga by sharing a video of her news segment and her exchange with Mr Barilaro – while calling for transparency from the state government and NSW Health about local Covid- 19 matters.
The clip shows Mr Barilaro turning off his camera while Ms Hull has reprimanded him over claims that patients are being transferred from western Sydney to the Central Coast.
“Rule number one as a journalist – share all sides of the story,” Ms Hull tweeted.
“There’s a bigger backstory and I’m certainly not a rumor-spreading journalist — I’m a community voice.”
The Central Coast has recorded 278 cases since the current outbreak began in Sydney in mid-June, including nine new infections on Tuesday.
Skaie Hull later shared footage from the Zoom press conference showing John Barilaro turning off his camera while asking him a question
Ms Hull’s online diatribe went viral after other regional reporters shared the awkward encounter
The local health district has also released 13 new potential exposure sites in the region, including Wyong, Umina, Killarney Vale, Wadalba, Tuggerah, Toukely, Gosford and Kincumber.
Asked if Covid patients have been transferred from Sydney’s flooded hospitals to Gosford, Mr Barilaro said: ‘I have no idea, I’m sure that’s happened in the past, but at the moment I don’t know.’
‘I don’t think it matters that much. The reality is that we are a network of hospitals that are there to serve all of NSW.”
Ms Hull then asked why the information is not being disclosed to the local region as she inquired about reports from a quarantine hospital in West Gosford.
The Deputy Prime Minister had been put to the test over claims that Covid patients in Western Sydney had been transferred to Gosford Hospital (pictured)
Mr Barilaro started his response but was quickly shut down by the reporter who reminded him that his camera is still off.
“First of all, I’m not speculating on gossip and rumours, I’m relying on the information I get from my health,” he continued.
“This idea of a quarantine hospital, I don’t know. I can’t give you that answer.
“Nobody is deliberately hiding this information from the public, but as I often find when things are brought up, it’s far from the truth.
“I don’t see the problem with the number of cases, vaccination and the ability to manage those cases in the local hospital network.
“Everything out there is negative scaremongering.”