Last week, The Circle presenter Yumi Stynes insinuated that Ben Roberts-Smith, a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour an Australian soldier can receive, was stupid as she discussed a swimming pool photo of him.
“He’s going to dive down to the bottom of the pool to see if his brain is there,” Stynes sneered.
Veteran journalist George Negus then rubbed salt into the wound by questioning Roberts-Smith’s manhood – whether he is “up to it in the sack”.
Despite Roberts-Smith saying he accepted apologies from the two broadcasters and had “now put this matter behind me so I can focus on serving my country”, Australians nationwide were outraged at the slurs, venting their anger online, in print and on radio talkback.
Today, Hoselink and Mirvac Hotels and Resorts were the latest sponsors to dump the show.
Tim Kierath, the founder of Hoselink, said he was personally offended by the comments that were made. Two of Kierath’s uncles were killed in World War II.
There are reports Yoplait has also pulled its sponsorship from the program.
Yesterday, BIG4 Holiday Parks has also stopped advertising its giveaway of a new Mitsubishi on The Circle in response to the public backlash and Swisse Vitamins and coffee chain Jamaica Blue also ended their association with the show.
Meanwhile, an online hate campaign, which included physical threats, has been aimed at Stynes.
Channel 10 had to censor The Circle’s Facebook page following “extreme comments” directed at Stynes, which included threats against her children.
“We are concerned about the extreme nature of some of those comments and are monitoring them very closely,” a Ten spokesperson said.