A German TV news reporter was fired after she was caught smearing herself with mud to fake that she was involved in the cleaning up of flood-ravaged towns, UK-based newspaper The Independent reported on Saturday.
The reporter, Susanna Ohlen, was sacked from German channel RTL, the company confirmed in a statement.
An onlooker in the area secretly recorded the footage and posted it to social media, showing Ohlen picking up mud from the ground and smearing it onto her face and clothes prior to filming a news report.
RTL has now deleted the footage from Ohlen’s news segment for Guten Morgen Deutschland where she was reporting on clean-up activities in areas that were devastated by deadly floods last week.
The total death toll from the floods, which also impacted some parts of Belgium, sits at around 205, according to The Independent.
The reporter’s deleted Guten Morgen Deutschland segment showed a street in German town Munstereifel, showing the damages caused by the floods, panning over rubble and washed-up items from nearby houses and businesses.
Olhen, who was wearing a bucket hat, wellington boots and thick industrial gloves, held a spade while calling on viewers to lend a helping hand in the town’s clean-up operations.
The reporter, who joined RTL in 2008, publicly apologized for her actions on Instagram.
“Our reporter’s approach clearly contradicts journalistic principles and our own standards. We therefore gave her leave of absence on Monday after we heard about it,” an RTL spokeswoman was quoted as saying by The Independent.