The Circle apologises after Yumi Stynes jokes about Ben Roberts-Smith

The Circle has apologised after co-host Yumi Stynes was blasted by viewers for a misfired gag she made about Victorian Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith, Australia’s most-decorated serving soldier.

And guest co-host George Negus also copped criticism for a follow-up gag.

Roberts-Smith was interviewed for Sunday Night during which he spoke about facing two machine guns firing and AK-47s in order to help save his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan.

Seven’s footage and promos included buff shots of Roberts-Smith in training in the pool.

Commenting on The Circle Yumi Stynes, said, “Hellloooo! Look at that physique! He’s going to dive down to the bottom of the pool and see if his brain is there.”

Negus attempted irony, asked, ” I wonder if they’re not up to it in the sack?”

“Are you intimating George Negus that he could be a dud root?”

On talkback radio both TEN presenters were blasted by callers.

On The Circle‘s official Facebook page the tirade continued:

Trace Lurati
Sorry very disrespectful to our Aussie Hero. Yumi you stuffed up big time

Judith Maree McIntosh
Absolutely appalled at Yumi’s attitude. This show is really on the way down! Respect people, respect!!!’

Lynette Giddings
An Australian who has been honoured as a V.C. recipient deserves all the accolades we can lavish on him – He’s the epitome of a great Aussie bloke! What a disgusting comment by this bird brain ‘Yumi’ Who is she?? and even more surprising and disappointing is the derogatory comment from George Negus – A journalist I’ve had great respect for in the past – Please George, do the right thing and apologise to this magnificent VC soldier Ben Roberts-Smith. and just sack Yumi Styne – what TV station would want to be associated with her comment.

Marlene Downunder
The Circle is terrible since Chrissy left. She made that show! Fire those two leftover idiots and start a fresh, new show, with hosts who actually have some cooth!

Kylie Balazs
What an absolute disagrace!! How dare you dis-honour a true fair dinkum Australian hero. In an era when people idolise football players and people in the media who are esentially nothing, you put down a person like Ben. This is one of the greatest acts of dis-respect I can think of. And why, because you are trying to be funny.

Judy Dean
Who the hell is this moron Yumi???????

Karla SpAgume
Yumi… I f’n love your style!! And PLEASE No-body respond to this comment unless you agree! Sometimes we ALL say things off the bat ! This is what I love about her, and have no doubt many do also! Bring it on! I rarely watch the show now but actually had a laugh! Lighten up people… 🙂

Megan Wainwright
Hi Girls, perhaps you could get your ‘people’ to contact the ‘people’ of the soldier in question to see if he was personally offended by todays light-hearted exchange. If he is (which I highly doubt will be the case), then apologise to him, and everybody else can get only with their boring little judgemental lives. 🙂

The show responded to Facebook complaints by saying:

Gotta love live T.V.!

What started out as an innocent admiration of one of Australia’s heroes today unfortunately ended up changing direction.

I hope you all know us well enough by now to know that we would never set out to upset anyone.

Your feedback is very important to us and we appreciate your input on a daily basis.

So sorry if we offended any of you today.

UPDATE: The Age reports Stynes said on air today that she did not know much about Corporal Roberts-Smith or the Australian Defence Force, and merely saw a ‘‘very handsome guy’’.

‘‘So I made a joke, because how could anybody possibly be so perfect?,’’ Stymes said.
‘‘What I didn’t estimate was how much my joke was not appreciated. I sort of intimated that maybe he wasn’t very smart, because how could you be that buff and spend that much time in a gym and be smart as well? And people have been a bit angry and I’ve been getting a lot of angry messages.

‘‘And I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to offend anybody and I have total respect for people that work in the the defence forces, and I’ve never met Ben but I’m sure he’s lovely and he does seem like a big family man.’’

A Network TEN Spokesperson said, “Network TEN apologises for the comments made on The Circle yesterday surrounding Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith. We recognise he is a highly decorated soldier, national hero and we have the utmost respect for him. We are sorry for any offence this may have caused him and sincerely echo today’s apology by The Circle.”

After her on-air apology, a tearful Stynes announced her engagement when co-host Gorgi Coghlan said she was lucky to have a supportive partner during an emotional time.

38 Comments:

  1. Apologies all now heard (and accpeted). Very nice to see.

    As an aside – if I was to pick between Ben Roberts-Smith and George Negus, I know which one I’d choose. Without question! 🙂

  2. Negus is no longer relevant so we will just skip him but I think Yumi is just trying to over compensate for the huge Humour hole left by Chrissie and Denise.
    She obviously regrets this but hell who hasn’t made an embarrassing error of judgement, apology was genuine let’s move on.
    I’m sure he will get a ragging from his mates and it will provide years of fodder for his backyard barbies.

  3. @Andrew_83

    I’m sorry, so if you spend time taking care of your body you automatically don’t have any brains?

    Not only that, but you also have to be lumped into the category of “vile” because of a few numbnuts?

    Don’t make me laugh at such a naive, stereotypical generalisation.

  4. Yumi has really proven what a vacuous self important prat by making the retribution for her childishly misguided comments all about her.As a big girl now Yumi it’s time to man up and apologise properly as you have been called out on this one.

    As a media person (neither journalist nor celebrity apply to her) she must take responsibility for her comments other than the ditz defence about him being to buff to have a brain.

    To those who say he is ‘just a soldier’ and the VC ‘just a medal’ please research the criteria and what it is awarded for. Of all the wars and hundreds of thousands of Australians who have served there are but a few hundred VC recipients (other commonwealth nations similarly have empire or now national VC awards that require the same rigid criteria to be met which makes them rare across all).

    And the medal is awarded only to the individual for individual acts of conspicuous gallantry.

    Negus, who?

  5. I’m sticking up for Yumi too, if you have watched her for a while she has had the opinion of big beefy blokes like footballers have no brains, because if you work that much on your body you musn’t have much else going on.

    She was married to a musician and now engaged to another sensitive guy, she just doesn’t like those muscly blokes and from reports over the media to do with NRL & AFL stars behaviour I don’t blame her.

    I don’t even think she correlated the fact he was a war hero because she doesn’t watch TV so wouldn’t have seen the program. Kyle Sandilands has said much worse and means it and still gets away with murder.

    • I’m not making any judgements about the engagement. I think when you’re emotional as she clearly was and somebody says you have a supportive partner, you would want to share that news. The footage illustrates this. Stynes is obviously regretful that she messed up. I think Aussies are accepting when we admit our mistakes. It’s when you try to defend a defenceless position that you pass the point of no return.

  6. OK, I should have done the research before asking the question… And if it OK David, I found the link where she did ask…

    video.au.msn.com/watch/video/yumi-sheds-tears-after-mocking-war-hero/xq8qq1q

  7. @alfagirl, that happens on the Footy Show every year, and nobody ever gets sacked over it. I think her apology is fair, she just spoke before thinking, but what she was thinking (and said) was hardly unprecedented, and was clearly meant to be a bit of a silly joke. She just happened to pick the wrong person to aim it at. If it had been at the expense of almost anybody else it would have gone unremarked.

    Having said that, why is he showing off his muscley bits like a male model? That’s what’s inappropriate for a war hero, if you ask me.

  8. The backlash on twitter is incredible right now after Yumi gave a lame apology and Negus denied it was offensive on The Project. And some bizarre justification that he has been in dangerous situations as well.

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