More sponsors have quit The Circle in the wake of comments last week on the show about Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith.
Multivitamin group Swisse ended its association late last week, but has since been followed by Mirvac Hotels and Resorts, and coffee chain Jamaica Blue via Foodco. There are also reports that Yoplait will join them. BIG4 Holiday Parks has also stopped advertising its giveaway of a new Mitsubishi, but the contest itself must legally continue.
“We fully understand and respect the decision by some sponsors to stop their involvement with The Circle,” TEN said in a statement.
“Network TEN has publicly apologised to Ben Roberts-Smith for the inappropriate and unnecessary comments made on The Circle last week.
“Yumi Stynes and George Negus have apologised on-air and have also contacted Ben directly to apologise. Ben accepted their apologies and said, in a statement, that he understood their comments were not intended to be malicious.”
Co-host Yumi Stynes has also been subjected to online abuse.
A TEN spokesman said he was aware of the comments, which had been made on Facebook, Twitter and alterations to Stynes’ Wikipedia page.
“We are concerned about the extreme nature of some of those comments and are monitoring them very closely,” he said.
“We are removing the most offensive comments from The Circle sites.”
Whether some sponsors are using the incident to abandon the show due to softer ratings following the exit of Chrissie Swan and Denise Drysdale, is unclear.
Swisse ambassador Sonia Kruger now co-hosts Nine’s rival show Mornings.