Pictured: Central Coast News reporter Skaie Hull
A journalist who forgot to hit ‘mute’ while she ranted about the NSW deputy premier during an online press conference says she was ‘p***ed off’ because he wouldn’t give a straight answer to her question.
Skaie Hull said she waited for about an hour to ask John Barilaro whether Covid-19 patients from western Sydney were transferred to Gosford Hospital during his daily briefing for regional media outlets on Tuesday.
When he refused to comment on the reports claiming it would be ‘scaremongering’ and turned her camera off, the Central Coast News reporter lost her cool in full earshot of Mr Barilaro and about 90 other news outlets.
‘Same thing, ‘scare-mongering freakin’ rumours’. He turned his camera off on me, so I’m p***ed off,’ Ms Hull fumed. ‘He purposely did that.
The 29-year-old told Daily Mail Australia said she was furious because she had been trying to get a straight answer about Covid patients in Gosford for weeks.
NSW Deputy premier John Barilaro claims he did not intentionally turn his camera off during a press conference
‘We have been trying to get information and we can’t,’ she said.
‘And then when we try and ask a question and they say we’re ‘fear mongering’ and ‘spreading rumours’ … it’s frustrating.’
Ms Hull explained that reporters often sit on Zoom calls for more than an hour – ‘you have to wait your turn, and then your question isn’t taken seriously,’ she added.
During the outburst, Mr Barilaro intervened to let her know everyone on the call could hear her, and explain that he didn’t turn the camera off intentionally.
‘Skaie, we can hear all that and that’s not correct, I didn’t turn off your camera. I was actually trying to find the next question,’ he said during the awkward exchange.
‘So Skaie, with everything you’ve said, I’m disappointed. And everyone else heard it as well, just letting you know.’
He turned his attention to the next reporter, who cheekily promised to express his opinions to the deputy premier’s face.
Central Coast News reporter Skaie Hull (pictured) made her feelings known about what she thinks of NSW deputy premier John Barilaro on Tuesday
Ms Hull said she received a call from someone in the deputy premier’s office immediately following the conference to tell her the camera really did cut out while he looked for the next question.
She didn’t believe that was the case at first, but has since reached out to Mr Barilaro and says they’re on good terms again.
‘I told him I’d put my mic on mute next time, and he said ‘don’t worry, we all do it’,’ she laughed.
Ms Hull didn’t realise Prime7 Wagga journalist Samantha Costin shared the awkward video in the first place, and only found out until Tuesday night when colleagues started messaging her with words of support.
‘Hot Tip: When in John Barilaro’s regional daily briefing with a few dozen other journos mute the mic before ranting to colleagues post questions,’ Ms Costin captioned the footage.
Ms Hull explained: ‘I was getting messages saying ‘good on you’ and ‘you said what you really wanted to say, don’t worry about it’ – I was like, ‘oh dear’.’
‘But I’ve been inundated with lovely messages – the support from the community has been amazing and out phone has been going off.’
Skaie Hull has hit back following her heated exchange with John Barilaro. ‘I’m definitely not a rumour spreading journalist – I’m a community voice’
After realising 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 segment shows Mr Barilaro turning off his camera while Ms Hull was grilling him about claims western Sydney patients are being transferred to the Central Coast.
‘Number one rule as a journalist – share all the sides to the story,’ Ms Hull tweeted.
‘There’s a bigger back story and I’m definitely not a rumour spreading journalist – I’m a community voice.’
The Central Coast has recorded 278 cases since the current outbreak began in mid-June in Sydney, including nine new infections on Tuesday.
Skaie Hull later shared footage from the Zoom press conference showing John Barilaro turning off his camera while she was asking him a question
Ms Hull’s online rant went viral after other regional reporters shared the awkward encounter
The local health district also released 13 new potential exposure sites across the region, including Wyong, Umina, Killarney Vale, Wadalba, Tuggerah, Toukely, Gosford and Kincumber.
When asked whether Covid patients were transferred from swamped Sydney hospitals to Gosford, Mr Barilaro said: ‘I have no idea, I’m sure that’s happened in the past but currently, I don’t know.’
‘I don’t think it really matters. The reality is that we’re a network of hospitals that are there to serve all of NSW.’
Ms Hull then asked why the information isn’t being disclosed to the local region as she inquired about reports of a quarantine hospital at West Gosford.
The deputy premier had been grilled about claims western Sydney Covid patients had been transferred to Gosford Hospital (pictured)
Mr Barilaro started his response but was quickly shut down by the reporter who reminded him his camera is still off.
‘Firstly, I don’t speculate on gossip and rumour, I go off the information I’m given from health,’ he continued.
‘This idea of a quarantine hospital, I don’t know. I can’t give you that answer.
‘No one is deliberately hiding this information from the public but as I often find out when things are raised, it’s nowhere near the truth.
‘I don’t see what the issue is in relation to case numbers, vaccination, and the ability to manage those cases in the local hospital network.
‘Anything outside of that is negative scare-mongering.’