Internet Folk Hero Karl Stefanovic Throws Down Against ‘The Daily Mail’ For A Sexist Attack On A Colleague

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For those unfamiliar, Karl Stefanovic is known for being something of an internet folk hero. The host of Australia’s Today show has a winning personality and his on camera antics lend to himself going viral for everything from asking the (very confused) Dalai Lama a pizza joke to the many, many times he’s failed to maintain his composure on live TV.

On Friday’s episode of Today, however, Stefanovic made headlines for a remarkably different reason than he’s usually known for. The host came to the defense of a female colleague who was apparently left in tears after The Daily Mail published a story insinuating that two were carrying on an affair after being photographed together at an Australian caravan park carrying alcohol.

In fact, Stefanovic and his producer were in Yamba filming a story about the prawn industry crisis, not that the bottom-feeding tabloid checked before running with the photos. While admitting that he and his on screen colleagues are understandable targets for these type of publications, Stefanovic told the Today camera, “But what I can’t abide, is lies about others.” After showing the partially blurred web page on screen, he continued.

The real hurt here though, is for my colleague, a young, female, colleague — the sleazy suggestion that checking in somewhere, and that I’m quote, “settling in for a long night.” Fact: This was work. We were filming a story about our struggling prawn farmer. They deserve a rum or two. The producer pictured on the website is a committed, talented, hard-working, and totally professional young woman, and not deserving of this cheap, lazy, sexist online slur.

A young woman who spent the past hours in tears because of the hurtful and false way she’s been portrayed by this website. The idea that colleagues of the opposite sex cannot work together without something going on surely belongs to the 1950s, and for most of Australia it does, but not, it seems, on this website.

Unfortunately — yet, wholly predictable — The Daily Mail responded to Stefanovic’s rant not with a retraction, but a follow up smear piece. Try as they might, however, it’s safe to say who won this round.

(Via The Guardian)