There are many things you can call a Victoria Cross winner…hero, brave, outstanding etc, but you can’t call him a dud root, as the hosts and panel of an Aussie TV show have found out:
The co-host of Channel Ten program The Circle has publicly apologised for making a sexist and disrespectful comment about Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith, saying she had never met the Australian war hero and ‘‘felt sick’’ at the angry backlash she had received after branding him brainless.
Yumi Stynes admitted she did not know much about Corporal Roberts-Smith when she commented on a photograph of the shirtless war hero in a swimming pool yesterday, saying: ‘‘He’s going to dive down to the bottom of the pool to see if his brain is there’’.
Stynes’ guest co-host and veteran journalist George Negus had then quipped: “I’m sure he’s a really good guy, nothing about poor old Ben. But that sort of bloke, and what if they’re not up to it in the sack?”
Another host questioned whether Negus was suggesting “that he could be a dud root?”, to laughter from the audience.
But their flippant treatment of Corporal Roberts-Smith – who single-handedly stormed an enemy machine gun position in Afghanistan in 2010 – angered relatives of decorated war veterans as well as viewers, who flooded the television show’s Facebook page with furious comments.
The show’s treatment of Corporal Roberts-Smith also came under fire after the soldier revealed in a candid interview on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night that he and his wife had conceived their twin daughters through IVF treatment.