Just when you thought the controversy surrounding Channel 7 Sunrise host, Samantha Armytage might be coming to an end, veteran ABC TV presenter, Virginia Haussegger, has taken a second swipe at Armytage on her Facebook page.
In an exclusive interview today for Mia Freedman’s No Filter podcast, Armytage said, “I did have to google her [Haussegger] to find out who she was.”
Haussegger clearly offended by the implication that the Sunrise host had no idea who she was has brought into question Armytage’s memory, after sharing that she had met her years ago.
Haussegger went on to reveal that she had interviewed Armytage for a job in the ABC Canberra newsroom, for which she was unsuccessful.
This is the second blow Haussegger has made against Armytage, after she wrote a weekend column that left Armytage feeling “shattered”. Haussegger column was written in response to a Sunrise segment that offended Sex and the City star and UN Ambassador, Kristin Davis.
Armytage said that despite the public backlash, “we women should stick together”. She explained she was shocked to wake up on the weekend and find a whole column by Haussegger accusing her of “disgracing feminism” and being “daft” and a “mindless bimbo”.
“I’m a journalist of 18 years. You can’t be stupid to do what I do,” Armytage said.
Armytage said she was particularly hurt that it was a fellow female journalist who criticised her in those terms: “It’s one thing to get it from anonymous people on the internet… but to have an entire column from a reputable media organisation, written by a dedicated member of your own industry, who is a woman in television… to use such base, vile and derogatory words, it was hurtful”.
Watch Sam talk about her pain at the criticism she’s received (you can catch the whole interview here):
Armytage said she knew the Sunrise skit was lame, and she was unaware they were going to use the “poo” scene from SATC (the only clip Sunrise ran of Davis from SATC was where she had explosive diarrhea).
“This is commercial morning TV, not the ABC,” Armytage said. “If you want to complain about it, go work for the ABC.”
The debate about women in media started last week when Sunrise enlisted Kristin Davis to participate in a skit about Sex and the City. Davis was disappointed and shared that disappointment on Twitter.
Haussegger argued that breakfast TV reinforces the whole dumb woman sidekick routine at the exact same time women’s “knowledge, wisdom and expertise” on television has gone MIA.
“Their nonsense nattering does a major disservice to feminism,” Haussegger wrote. “If Armytage and Co. don’t give a hoot about feminism – fine. But perhaps they should think about women like themselves – glamorous, privileged women who are in positions of power and influence – and how hard others have fought for such women to be taken seriously. To be heard. And to have their views considered worthy of prime time, serious discussion.”
On Monday, Armytage had her say in a column for News Limited: “Whatever your interpretation [of feminism], it does not provide a license to attack — personally and professionally — another woman,” Armytage wrote.
“To use petty barbs such as ‘bimbo’, ‘dumb’, ‘ditzy’, ‘daft’ to prove a point, does not make you a feminist. It makes you a bully.”
Armytage called into question Haussegger’s support of the “sisterhood”, which then ignited a whole other debate about whether or not women should support women just because they are women.
“Feminism means different things to different people,” Armytage responded. “To me, it has always been about empowering and supporting other women. For most, it happens naturally. Not all wear it like a badge of honour.”
Edwina Bartholomew, a co-host in the embarrassing skit, yesterday took to her Instagram to defend her workmate.
“It was not her idea. It was not my idea,” wrote Bartholomew. “But we all did sit there and follow through with it. Do I regret that? Hell yes. Am I making excuses? Hell no.”
“I never expected to be referred to as a ‘dumb chick’ or a ‘mindless bimbo’,” she continued. “I expect to be criticised in this job — I write back to a lot of it because I want you to know I read it and register it.”
Listen to Samantha Armytage on No Filter with Mia Freedman: