Today show co-host Karl Stefanovic has unleashed on a popular news and entertainment website on Friday morning, slamming its "cheap, lazy and sexist" reporting.
On Thursday evening, the Daily Mail published an article in which Stefanovic was pictured walking with a woman while carrying a six-pack of alcohol. Stefanovic claims the story suggested he was a drunk, settling in for a night in a caravan with "a young, female colleague".
"The sleazy suggestion we're checking in somewhere and that I'm, quote 'settling in for a long night'," Stefanovic said.
"Fact -- this was work. We were filming a story about our struggling prawn farmers...the producer pictured on the website is a committed, talented, hard-working and totally professional young woman and not deserving of this cheap, lazy sexist online slur.
"The idea that colleagues of the opposite sex cannot work together without 'something going on' surely belongs to the 1950s. And for most of Australia, it does. But not, it seems, on this website."
Stefanovic's popularity has suffered lately after he and his wife of 21 years, Cassandra, were involved in a high-profile and public split. It was later reported he was dating 33-year-old Jasmine Yarbrough, a model and shoe designer.
The 42-year-old presenter, who said for the most part he and his colleagues "suck it up" when it comes to criticism as they are in the public eye, proceeded to attack the Daily Mail for "specialising in shaming people" with its "despicable track record of denigrating women for who they are, what they look like, the choices they make".
Co-host Lisa Wilkinson was recently criticised by the site for wearing the same blouse twice, four months apart. It also claimed that Wilkinson and Today show reporter Sylvia Jeffreys couldn't work together "presumably because they are both women", Stefanovic said.
"I'm over it, I don't know about what you think, but I hope Australia is over it as well," he said.
"Go hard on me. Make up your stories. Publish your lies, send out the paps. But if you have a sliver of decency, if you have any care whatsoever for the women of Australia, do not slur the reputations of others in your eagerness to throw mud at me."
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