Social media speculation arose after the Fox host’s show, with many viewers wondering if the delay or Pirro’s demeanor – at times, she appeared to be laughing or stumbling over her words – had to do with alcohol consumption.
Many news and talk shows have moved to remote broadcasts, and “Justice with Judge Jeanine” was being conducted live from Pirro’s home for the first time Saturday. Instead of opening with Pirro at 9 p.m. as usual, the network cited technical difficulties and pivoted to another anchor until her show was back up and running.
“Welcome back. It’s good to see you tonight, and we apologize for the technical difficulties,” Pirro said with a laugh while opening her show. “But we’re certainly delighted to have Sen. Marsha Blackburn with us to talk about the coronavirus.”
In a statement to USA TODAY provided by Fox News representative Alexandra Coscia, the network attributed the delay to a teleprompter malfunction and other technical issues while trying to host a live show remotely.
“Jeanine Pirro was broadcasting from her home for the first time when she encountered several technical difficulties which impacted the quality of her show, including the loss of a teleprompter,” the statement read. “As we have previously said, we are operating with a reduced staff working remotely to ensure the health and safety of our employees in these unprecedented times.”
A person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly about it told USA TODAY that Pirro was not drunk and does not drink. Additionally, the source said, Pirro did not have a producer, show staff or hair and makeup artists at her home because staff members are working remotely.
Some viewers on social media assumed Pirro was drunk after the broadcast, sharing video clips in which she appeared to be stumbling over her words.
“OMG,” tweeted Vox reporter Aaron Rupar. “What is Fox News doing putting someone on the air in (this) condition?”
“Will another one bite the dust? Let’s just say she’s not one to support other women,” former Fox host Gretchen Carlson wrote alongside an article declaring Pirro appeared “disheveled and tipsy.”
In response to a user’s comment claiming she had “drunk girl hair,” Pirro responded that her IFB (an earpiece used by on-air hosts to communicate with those behind the scenes) started “grabbing my hair and no staff to notice.”
“I was in a truck where that was not prepared to broadcast bec we had no connection , no visual and no teleprompter,” she added.
To another commenter, she replied: “Keep hating. U wear it well.”