In comments Monday night, Wilkinson seemingly referenced Prince Andrew, who has been accused of raping a minor allegedly trafficked by late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The royal, who is Harry’s uncle, has repeatedly denied all allegations.
Some viewers took issue with the fact that Wilkinson’s joke aired just moments before the TV host’s interview with Australian government staffer Brittany Higgins, who alleged she was raped by a colleague at Parliament House.
“She looks very pregnant. That’s obviously happened very, very quickly. I’ll tell you what, what do you think the chances are of that kid being called Andrew?” Wilkinson joked on the show.
“I would say slim to none,” said co-host Jan Fran, with whom Wilkinson then agreed there was “zero” chance.
Watch the segment here on 10Play.
One Twitter user asked Wilkinson to apologise for her ill-timed joke, writing, “@Lisa_Wilkinson why you making Prince Andrew rape jokes right before airing your interview with this lady? You owe her and all your viewers a public apology”.
Another person said it was “good” to see the TV host’s interview with Higgins, but it was “disappointing” to hear her royal joke in the same episode of the Channel 10 news and current affairs show.
“Good - though the other hand you have Lisa making a ‘joke’ re Harry and Meghan’s potential new name choice.. disappointing Lisa,” the viewer tweeted.
“Poor form Lisa especially after your interview tonight with the young girl who has been allegedly assaulted by a man,” one person wrote.
Another penned, “That’s not in the slightest bit funny Lisa. You should be ashamed of yourself”.
Wilkinson and ‘The Project’ have been contacted for comment.
On Monday night, Wilkinson interviewed former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, who described being raped by a colleague at Parliament House in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ ministerial office.
Higgins told ‘The Project’ she was weeks into a new job in Canberra as a media adviser to Reynolds in 2019 when a male colleague attacked her after a night out.
As news.com.au first reported on Monday, Higgins said a male staffer offered her a lift home in March 2019 but redirected the taxi to Parliament House, where the pair went through several security checkpoints to get to Reynolds’ office and Higgins fell asleep on a couch.
Higgins told Wilkinson on ‘The Project’ that he assaulted her there.
Days after the alleged incident, Reynolds called a meeting in the same office where Higgins says she was attacked, a move she said was traumatic and “unfathomable”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office issued a statement Monday describing the alleged assault as “deeply distressing”.
“It is important that Ms Higgins views are listened to and respected. The Government regrets in any way if Ms Higgins felt unsupported through this process,’’ the statement read.
The statement also said that “Minister Reynolds stated to Ms Higgins that her only concern was for her welfare and stated there would be no impact on her career.”
Morrison apologised on Tuesday after having a conversation with his wife, Jenny.
“She said to me, ‘You have to think about this as a father first. What would you want to happen if it were our girls?’ he told reporters.
“Jenny has a way of clarifying things,” he added. “It shatters me that still, in this day and age, that a young woman can find herself in the vulnerable situation that she was in. Not her doing.”
“This is not OK.”
With reporting by Carly Williams.
In Australia, call 1800 RESPECT (737 732) for the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service.
Sexual Assault Support Services on 6231 1811, or after hours 6231 1817
Family Violence Crisis and Support Service on 1800 608 122
Bravehearts – Sexual Assault Support for Children on 1800 BRAVE 1
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