The phrase "fridgegate" began trending on Twitter in the United Kingdom on Wednesday after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of heading into a freezer in order to avoid a television interview.
The episode came as a "Good Morning Britain" reporter attempted to ask questions of Johnson while he visited the local business Modern Milkman in Yorkshire. Video of the exchange shows reporter Jonathan Swain asking if Johnson would like to come on the program, which is hosted by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.
“Oh for f---’s sake," Johnson's aide can be heard saying in response, prompting Morgan and Reid to immediately voice shock. The aide was later identified as Johnson's press secretary, Rob Oxley, The Guardian noted.
"Oh, wow," Morgan said, with Reid quipping, "The look on his face, that minder."
“I’ve just had a reaction from one of the minders. OK, no need to push, thank you very much,” Swain said as Johnson walked away.
Moments later, Swain tried again to get Johnson to speak with the show's hosts, noting that the program was currently airing live.
"I'll be with you in a second, I'll be with you in a second," Johnson said, before going into a walk-in freezer with a group of aides.
Morgan said, “He’s gone into the fridge," as another person can be heard jokingly calling it a "bunker."
“It’s a very frosty reception we’ve had so far,” Swain quipped. Morgan commended the reporter for "heroic work."
Conservative sources insisted to The Guardian that Johnson was “categorically not hiding” and that he was instead finding a private space to prepare for a separate, pre-arranged interview.
The unusual exchange quickly went viral, with more than 40,000 people sending a tweet using the hashtag #fridgegate as of Wednesday morning. The hashtag was the top Twitter trend in the country a day ahead of its elections.
"Great to see @BorisJohnson out on the campaign trail in Yorkshire this morning! Sorry to hear about the chilly reception mate," one tweet read.
Morgan also addressed the encounter after Johnson sent a tweet urging British citizens to vote for the Conservative Party in the upcoming elections.
"You couldn’t even honour a promise to do an interview, Fridge-hider," Morgan tweeted.
You couldn’t even honour a promise to do an interview, Fridge-hider. https://t.co/KDpGxwa0hv— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 11, 2019
Cowardice is never a good look... https://t.co/MT4lGSY5rf— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 11, 2019