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

Updated: Yumi Stynes and The Circle says sorry after gags about a Victoria Cross hero are branded as tastless and disrespectful.

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 Responses

  1. I think alfagirl has a point about the double standard being a cause for concern, but I disagree that the joke was off limits just cos the guy happened to be a soldier. I mean, as others have already pointed out, it’s Seven’s fault for using such a low tactic to get people to watch. And it would be completely different if Roberts Smith himself registered offense, but it wasn’t.

    I think in general, people like to complain and be outraged because they actually get attention for doing so, and that makes them feel powerful and self-righeous (particularly, in this case, given the almost American level of aggressive patriotism involved) . Hence why at least someone will be offended by every little thing.

  2. She was right to apologize..

    It goes to show if you are going to comment on something you know nothing about then you should be a bit more vigilant in what you have to say about it or face the possible backlash.

    She has, her apology was sincere (I saw it) that should be the end of it. I can’t stand how the ‘public’ automatically calls for someone to get sacked. She’s not Kyle Sandilands people!!

  3. @Kev, agreed I used the wrong terminology there. I should have said awarded a VC for one’s country. It is most certainly not a sporting medal and I did not mean to imply that.

  4. Imagine a different scenario. Let’s say a sport type show with a panel of men is discussing a female who had performed some sort of heroic feat that saved lives at the risk of her own. The woman is attractive and one of the panel members makes comments about her physical appearance. Another panel member chimes in with speculation about her prowess in bed. There would be a total meltdown. People would be sacked. No amount of apologies would be enough. What was said was offensive and truly stupid. Maybe some people should not be allowed on live tv.

  5. The best way to save this show is to have Gorgi Coghlan front the show by herself, or with a guest co-presenter on a weekly rotation say, other than that, just have guests, who are there for whatever reason they are.

    Of the original 4, Gorgi Coghlan was the only one who had goods to make something of the show, if TEN actually wants to, and not just have it as a time filler.

  6. @Goonies, that may be so, but in my opinion it is nowhere near as accomplished as winning a VC for one’s country. I think George is suffering from relevancy deprivation syndrome, why else would he agree to appear on an extended informercial?

  7. It’s certainly wasn’t tactful of The Circle to make such comments, given their target audience and demographic and I’d never be disrespectful to any soldiers. However, war is controversial anyway, foreign invasion is not supported by much of the public and we can’t force people to be respectful, otherwise it is just another case of enforcing political correctness. In some European countries, comments like this are far more tolerated, even if it is seen as being offensive by some.

  8. I was very moved by the Roberts-Smith interview on Sunday Night, he was obviously very uncomfortable talking about himself, he is in essence a humble hero.
    I stopped watching The Circle when Chrissie left, for me she was a fresh and funny presence on morning TV, and the show just hasn’t been the same since she left. So I didn’t see the segment live on air. After watching it online and reading the flippant apology on Facebook, I turned over to The Circle to see if it was mentioned. The first thing I saw was Yumi announcing that although she rarely talks about her private life, she was going public with her relationship of one year (cue photo) and tearfully broke the news that she had asked him to marry her. This apparently happened a month ago, so am I being overly sceptical in finding the timing of her announcement questionable?
    She did preface her on air reveal by saying she had apologised for her earlier remarks and this way in now way intented to overshadow that incident.
    Maybe the lady doth protest too much.

  9. @ allie, Negus is a well respected war journalist. I would hardly call his contributions insignificant.

    As if it was a planned publicity stunt, just a very unfortunate brain fail.

  10. I watch The Circle when I get the chance and find that Yumi is one of those people that has no filter and just says whatever comes into her head. I have found some of her things that she said is offensive. In this case I think an on air apology is warranted.

  11. It is truly amazing how easily we find ourselves outraged by something in the social media age.

    Isn’t a day goes by where there isn’t a story about some person/group/ being appalled by person a’s comments.

  12. i dont now this women but there is something seriously wrong with her, clearly she is the one without a brain, also i would expect better from George negus. how disguising

  13. Disgraceful. Has she got a brain offending someone that protects Australia and its honor is more the question she should be asking. I think she should resign.

    She is a talentless hack anyway.

  14. Who watches this crap any way?*

    I am, as my name implies, a dedicated, stay home wife but I would rather be run over by a bus than watch this tripe. What is George thinking appearing on this?

    I think I’ll stick with my podcasts of “This American Life” during the day (and my small guilty pleasure of Seinfeld re-runs while eating lunch).

    *David, can I say “crap”? Hope so!

  15. Well, Roberts-Smith has achieved far more in his relatively short life so far than Stynes and Negus will ever achieve themselves in ten lifetimes, so I doubt whether he is too bothered by their pathetic comments. That said, both Negus and Stynes were extremely disrespectful, stuffed up big time and are thoroughly deserving of the torrent of condemnation currently being rained upon them.

  16. These people need to get a life and find something more important to worry about. Australians can be so petty. We all ‘take the p!ss’ out of public figures and be it a soldier, popstar, politician, or your average joe, we should all respect each other as equals. Yes he was being honoured and they were merely mocking that ch7 put in shots of him topless and he does look like a beef cake…seriously…who cares? We all should lighten up a little.

  17. Very off handed apology. Just because it is live is no excuse. Yumi Stynes and George Negus have done enough live TV to know better. Seriously George Negus should know better than to be on an informercial show anyway.

    Its dissapointing that a show that would happily do a segment on womens stereotypes in the media would attack have a go like this because of the way that they look.

    Also sorry to pick fault but Ben Roberts-Smith is not Australia’s most decorated soldier. He is the most decorated Serving soldier in the Australian armed forces. Australia’s most decorated soldier is Lieutenant Colonel Henry William “Harry” Murray who served during the WWI.

  18. Well honestly..Look at the way Channel 7 advertised the segment. Don’t you think they were being disrespectful focusing on the “beefcake”…They set themselves up…The soilder obviously has no issue showing off his body…So he has nothing to come back on…..

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