Reporter suspended over on-air stunt to dramatise German floods report

·2-min read

A German TV reporter has been suspended after footage emerged of her smearing mud on her face before going on camera to report from a town devastated by deadly flooding.

A video filmed by an onlooker and posted to social media shows Susanna Ohlen, 39, in the town of Bad Munstereifel, appearing to wipe mud on herself as her camera crew stood by.

The person filming can be heard chuckling.

A screenshot of the video filmed by an onlooker which shows Susanna Ohlen touching muddy water with her hands and rubbing her face. Source:
In the video filmed by an onlooker, Susanna Ohlen prepares for the TV cross and is seen touching muddy water with her hands and rubbing her face. Source: Twitter/MKlarname

The 39-year-old reporter, who has worked for since 2008, later went on camera claiming to have been helping clean-up efforts

At least 173 people were killed in Bad Munstereifel in what has been described as the area's worst floods in 700 years.

A screenshot of Susanna Ohlen's news report of the flood aftermath after rubbing mud on her face. Source: Twitter/@Michael45644934
Susanna Ohlen, 39, had worked for the German TV network RTL since 2008. Source: Twitter/@Michael45644934

German broadcaster suspends reporter 

After the footage went viral online, the German broadcaster issued a statement confirming Ohlen had been suspended over the incident. 

“Our reporter's approach clearly contradicts journalistic principles and our own standards. We therefore gave her a leave of absence on Monday, after we heard about it.”

Reporter responds to suspension on Instagram

Ms Ohlen has since responded on Instagram saying she made a "serious mistake".

"I made a serious mistake on Monday in the flood area in front of the switch for Guten Morgen Deutschland," the post, written in German and translated to English, begins.

"After I had already helped privately in the region on the previous days, I was ashamed in front of the other helpers that morning to stand in front of the camera in a clean top. Then, without thinking twice, I smeared mud on my clothes.

"As a journalist, this should never have happened to me. As a person who cares about the suffering of all those affected, it happened to me. I beg your pardon, Susanna Ohlen."

Ohlen had been with the network since 2008. 

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A picture from German TV reporter Susanna Ohlen's instagram account showing her on an RTL news set.  Source: Instagram/susannaohlen
German TV reporter Susanna Ohlen has since responded in an Instagram post saying she made a "serious mistake". Source: Instagram/susannaohlen

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