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 programÂ The CircleÂ 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 â€˜â€˜felt sickâ€™â€™ 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: â€˜â€˜Heâ€™s going to dive down to the bottom of the pool to see if his brain is thereâ€™â€™.
Stynesâ€™ guest co-host and veteran journalist George Negus had then quipped: “Iâ€™m sure heâ€™s a really good guy, nothing about poor old Ben. But that sort of bloke, and what if theyâ€™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 showâ€™s Facebook page with furious comments.
The showâ€™s treatment of Corporal Roberts-Smith also came under fire after the soldier revealed in a candid interview on Channel Sevenâ€™sÂ Sunday NightÂ that he and his wife had conceived their twin daughters through IVF treatment.