An Australian TV host has slammed the Daily Mail for its “cheap, lazy, sexist” coverage in a rousing speech on the Today show, which has garnered reams of support on social media.
Karl Stefanovic took down the news and gossip website after it published pictures of him checking into a caravan park with a young female colleague and 12 cans of pre-mixed rum, implying that they were “settling in for a long night”.
Watch the powerful tirade for yourself.
“Fact: This was work,” Stefanovic said, addressing the inference on Friday morning. “We were filming a story about our struggling prawn farmers… 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.”
He said the young producer, Lauren Tomasi, had “spent the past hours in tears” because of the “hurtful and false way” she was portrayed. Tomasi tweeted her support for Stefanovic, saying she was proud to work with him.
The Mail has published numerous gossip articles about- and photos of Stefanovic since he split from his wife Cassandra Thorburn last year, and his speech suggests he's finally had enough.
“Go hard on me,” he said. “Make up your stories. Publish your lies. Send out your paparazzi. But if you have a sliver of decency, if you have any care whatsoever for the women of Australia, do not slur the reputations of others in your eagerness to throw mud at me.”
He called the Mail a news website, "which seeks to profit from criticising and publicly humiliating people, women especially". He added: “This site specialises in shaming women – for how they look, for what they wear, for how much they weigh, for how much weight they’ve lost, for going to the beach.”
“It has a despicable track record of denigrating women for who they are, what they look like, the choices they make, for denigrating women full-stop. This is the site that ridiculed Lisa [Wilkinson] for wearing the same blouse four months apart.
“The same site that tried to shame Sunrise host Samantha Armytage for wearing so-called ‘granny pants’,” he added, and ended by urging viewers to boycott the site.
The Mail addressed Stefanovic's criticism, calling it a "bizarre tirade" and highlighting tweets which called him a hypocrite.
Many others were quick to show Stefanovic their support on Twitter, however.
But this isn't the first time Stefanovic has criticised the media and been hailed as a feminist hero. Back in 2014 he wore the same suit every day for a year to make an important point about how his female are judged for their appearance, while “no one gives a shit” about how men look, he said.
“I’m judged on my interviews, my appalling sense of humour – on how I do my job, basically,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Whereas women are quite often judged on what they’re wearing or how their hair is. Women, they wear the wrong colour and they get pulled up.” Hear, hear.