Today‘s Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson are riding high on Channel Nine’s longest winning ratings streak over rival Sunrise, but this week they’ve thrown their weight behind a talent outside their own network.
Karl and Lisa have announced they’ll be backing Gold Logie hopeful Waleed Aly at this Sunday’s awards ceremony.
Speaking to Fairfax, the pair said: “Waleed has made a significant contribution to Australian television this year.”(Someone might not want to mention any of this to their Nine alumni, Scott Cam, who is up for the same award.)
Support for the 37-year-old journalist, academic and commentator comes less than a month after the media was whipped into a frenzy over “reverse racism” comments the co-hosts and their colleague, Ben Fordham, made on air.
Joking that Lisa was “too white” to receive a nomination for the top award stirred up furore within many. So much so that one article from The New Daily slammed the pair as “clowns” in a TV breakfast circus.
Watch a snippet of the controversial segment below (post continues after video).
But Karl and Lisa have said the uproar took their comments out of context.
“It was satire,” Wilkinson said. “We were sending ourselves up.”
Stefanovic was largely unperturbed by the drama, explaining unwittingly offending people on a daily basis is a reality of his job.
“If you take any three words, any bit of dialogue from our show and isolate [it] – then print it – it’s not going to make sense. Yes, it’s going to offend some people. If anyone was offended, we’re the first people to put our hands up and say sorry,” he said.
“But I’m not going to go out there and apologise every time I make someone feel upset… I’d just spend my whole day apologising. Channel Nine publicity would be on the phone constantly, asking me to apologise to people. I’m not going to do it. I’m taking a stand.”