#PeeGate: New Brunswick Reporter’s Mute Gaffe Creates Literal Live Stream

The people are calling it “PeeGate.”

An unfortunate mute gaffe at a New Brunswick COVID-19 press conference went viral this week, when the live-streamed event turned into, well, a literal live stream from one reporter. 

Tuesday’s event seemed innocuous enough, with the province’s chief medical officer Dr. Jennifer Russell answering questions from various reporters over the phone regarding the N.B. COVID-19 response. But as she stepped away from the podium between questions, a distinctive tinkling was heard, and broadcasted live, coming from the phone line.

Folks, let’s go on this journey in real time, together. 

“Oh hi there, I’m worried this — can you hear me?” Tom Bateman of the Times Transcript newspaper asks over the distinctive whiz. 

The tinkling continues, like a babbling brook of unexpected urinary deluge. 

“Hang on one sec please,” says the operator with a chuckle.

As many of us would in this situation, caught trying to ask important questions about a global pandemic as a colleague takes a leak in the background, Bateman makes sure to clarify that it’s not him as the stream grows ever louder.

“That is not me,” he laughs nervously.

As the stream ends with a distinctive splash, followed by a sharp cut-off, Russell lets out a laugh, and we all let out a laugh with her.


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The operator gives an all-important reminder: “Everybody please mute your microphones.” 

#PeeGate is born.  

Now, some people came to the source of noise’s defence — maybe it was someone filling up a kettle. Or running the sink to brush their teeth. Or a garden hose. But let’s be real, we’re nine months into the Zoom-dominated remote life of the COVID-19 pandemic — we all know an accidental pee-er when we hear one. This ain’t our first pee-Rodeo

The clip immediately blew up on social media.

The exact moment of realization on Russel’s face that, yes, a reporter really was turning the livestream into a live stream, was perfectly captured by one Twitter user.

As all things in Canada are, the moment was converted into a Heritage Minute because #PeeGate is indeed now a part of our heritage. 

Who exactly is the streaming suspect? The whizzing wonder? The urinating usurper? The pee-er in question has not come forward, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t doing the hard-hitting investigative work to determine the source of the leak.  

Whoever you are, urine in trouble.


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