Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O Henderson have backed “Intern Pete” after his controversial interruption at former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith’s press conference.
For those who weren’t paying attention last week, Smith fronted the media on Thursday night, apologising for his role in the Australian test cricket team’s ball-tampering scandal.
During the press conference, “Intern” Pete Deppler – who’s actually a producer at KIIS FM – attempted to lighten the mood with a joke, comparing the scandal to one on Married At First Sight.
We unpack the ball tampering on the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues.
“I want to let you know from the perspective [of the] non-sports community of Australians, to see you upset tonight is very sad,” he said to a distraught Smith.
“Mate I’ve got to tell you … hold your head high for what you have done because what’s actually been worse is what Davina and Dean did on Married At First Sight.”
While the comments garnered almost as much public outrage as the on-field cricket cheating itself, Kyle and Jackie O were having none of it, defending their colleague’s actions during Tuesday morning’s show.
“Intern Pete was in trouble over the weekend,” Jackie O said in their first show after the Easter break. “I woke up to the news. I didn’t even know what was going on until the next day. I’m cringing at the thought.”
She said Pete’s mother had flown to Sydney to support her son.
“Pete is the kind of person who has the best of intentions, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. He just wants to please people and I feel for him.”
Kyle revealed that Pete and even his mother had received death threats over the comments.
“Who cares? It’s a cricket game at the end of the day … he got death threats, people threatened Intern Pete with death, these are loons.”
“We didn’t know he was going to [ask the question], but I still support him — I couldn’t give a s**t.”
Kyle said Cricket Australia had pulled their advertising from the radio network, but insisted he continued to support Pete.
“They (cricket fans) want his mother dead. What sort of people are these people? It’s a f**king game,” he said.
“This kid could have killed himself over the weekend because of all the hell he’s been put through.
“Imagine if he’d taken his own life because some flog somewhere who’s so obsessed with cricket wanted him dead?”
WATCH: Kyle and Jackie O said while they didn’t know about Pete’s intentions, they support him.
The radio hosts are keeping with the stance KIIS FM’s owner ARN held in a statement issued on Friday.
“Obviously the majority of those asking questions at the airport were sports journalists, unlike Intern Pete, so Pete’s question was framed for those who don’t follow cricket,” the statement read.
“But as you can hear when you listen to the audio of the question, Pete genuinely felt for Steve, as he tried to inject some warmth to what was a difficult situation.”
Pete himself said in a statement last week he had the best of intentions and wasn’t expecting the backlash, but conceded his comments were poorly timed.
“As everyone watching at home saw, the solemnness of the press conference was extraordinary,” Deppeler said. “To many, it held a lot more intensity than one would expect for a sporting incident. Steve was so upset which surprised everyone in the room and I just wanted to let him know that it truly wasn’t the end of the world.
“It wasn’t my intention to make light of his personal situation, but to show him that the millions of Australians who aren’t obsessed with cricket empathise with him. But timing is everything and, on reflection, it wasn’t the best time to ask that.”
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