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.....2 Stoopid.... Australian War Hero Called A Dud Root.....

VC winner 'surprised' at The Circle's 'dud root' comments

Aja Styles and Jenna Clarke
March 1, 2012 - 2:00AM

Pictures of a shirtless Ben Roberts-Smith prompted the comments. Photo: Channel Seven

Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith has dismissed sexist and disrespectful comments aimed at him by the Channel Ten program The Circle as "surprising" but not malicious.

The comments, which included "that he could be a dud root", drew the ire of the nation.

The Circle's co-host Yumi Stynes yesterday admitted she did not know much about Corporal Roberts-Smith when she commented on a photograph of the shirtless war hero in a swimming pool yesterday, saying: "He's going to dive down to the bottom of the pool to see if his brain is there."

Stynes's guest co-host and veteran journalist George Negus also quipped: "I'm sure he's a really good guy, nothing about poor old Ben. But that sort of bloke... what if they're not up to it in the sack?"

Both personally apologised to Corporal Roberts-Smith for their comments before appearing on The Project to explain their actions.

Stynes said that she was "humbled" and "sorry" for her comments.

"I did speak to the winner of the Victoria Cross on the phone and said to him 'look, I'm really about this' and he was like 'I've got a pretty thick skin' and he kind of went 'you know this stuff happens, you say stuff, don't sweat it, let's move on.'

She added that it was "uncool to make fun of him" yet she was "relieved" to speak with Corporal Roberts-Smith.

"It's kind of like when you have a fight with somebody at school and your parents say 'look if you talk it out together as adults it'll be alright.'," she said.

Negus, who also spoke with the decorated soldier, added: "It was very difficult to get him to accept my apology because he didn't sound as though he thought I needed to make one."

He told the panel he understood why people were upset with his comments.

"I've been there, I know conflict zones, I know what guys like Ben and his colleagues do in conflict and war zones.

"I've been in dangerous situations myself, I don't see myself as a hero, I was just doing my job and I'm quite sure that there were occasions when I could've lost my life but I was just doing my job," Negus said.

"Ben and I talked in such a friendly, civil way about it that we agreed to have a beer and talk it through properly."

Corporal Roberts-Smith released a statement late yesterday, saying: "Initially I was a little surprised at the comments but I also understand they were not meant to be malicious in any way.

"I would like to thank the Australian public and Australian Defence Force personnel for their overwhelming support - my wife and I were extremely touched by the outpouring of support and concern."

He said that he had read the statements from both Stynes and Negus and "they have both since contacted me directly to apologise for any offence caused."

"I have now put this matter behind me so I can focus on serving my country," he said.

The TV hosts' flippant treatment of Corporal Roberts-Smith - who single-handedly stormed an enemy machinegun position in Afghanistan in 2010 - angered relatives of decorated war veterans as well as viewers, who flooded the television show's Facebook page with furious comments.

Corporal Roberts-Smith revealed in a candid interview on Channel Seven's Sunday Night program that he and his wife had conceived their twin daughters through IVF treatment.

Stynes, a former Channel [V] host, said she "felt sick" after the backlash and did not estimate that her joke about this "very handsome guy" would go so awry.

"So I made a joke, because how could anybody possibly be so perfect?" Stynes said.

Network Ten also released a statement apologising for the comments.

"We recognise he is a highly decorated soldier, national hero and we have the utmost respect for him," the statement said.

"We are sorry for any offence this may have caused him and sincerely echo [yesterday]'s apology by The Circle."

A public affairs spokeswoman for Victoria Cross recipients said that Corporal Roberts-Smith "would not be issuing any further statement on this matter."

Corporal Roberts-Smith was awarded the VC for extraordinary heroism in bitter fighting as members of the Special Operations Task Group assaulted a Taliban stronghold in Kandahar Province on June 11, 2010.

At great risk to himself, Corporal Roberts-Smith drew fire away from his fellow Diggers by making himself an easy shot before single-handedly silencing two Taliban machinegun posts.

That enabled his unit to go on to clear a village of Taliban.

- with The Age

.............OK - this is a decorated war hero who put his LIFE on the line for his fellow Diggers... And he and his wife are cannon fodder for daytime TV because of fertility issues???? R u fucking kidding me with this ???...

...The abhorrence of attacking ANY member of the Armed Forces - of ANY nation - is gut twisting and COMPLETELY UN-AUSTRALIAN.........

..... I'll end with some of the comments from the Australian public .......... good grief.....

12 comments so far

  • Poor George, just a silly old bugger trying to talk dirty to a young girl. As for Yumi, she's just an airhead who can't tell the difference between wit, controversy and inanity.

    Vaucous Television

    Date and time
    March 01, 2012, 4:40AM
  • i was surprised at George Negus getting involved in the reprehensible comments initiated by that disrespectful woman who in reality is a nobody. Why is it that people such as Yumi Stynes, who really believe that they have some level of importance, think that because they are part of a 2nd rate television programme they can say what they like?


    Date and time
    March 01, 2012, 7:06AM
  • Contiuned poor form from Negus. Is it so hard to simply say "sorry" rather than all that rubbish trying to justify himself?

    Luckily for him this soldier represents real Aussieness and just shrugs and gets on with it. Imagine if the boot was on the other foot and a precious media elite had been insulted in a similar manner. Lawsuits would be flying everywhere.

    You're a disgrace Negus, and your continued behavour is only making it worse. Say sorry, unqualified, and move on. You're an elite level journalist but to claim you've put yourself in danger like this bloke is pure rubbish. He does it regularly and anonymously for a pittance compared to you doing it for your own glory and massive pay packet. Hang your head in shame, you are despicable.

    As for Stynes, she's just D list bling for the camera.

    Date and time
    March 01, 2012, 7:06AM
    • Agreed.
      Is George trying to desperately cling to some level of relevancy? His show was axed, he has the same facial expressions as a botox addict and the vocal range of average garbage disposal. Seriously, comparing being an imbedded journalist to a TV host at a channel 10 party may make you seem edgy or intense, but comparing it to being a front-line SAS soldier who has won a VC is like comparing yourself to Neil Armstrong because you once flew in a jet to cancun.
      Get over yourself George.
      And Yumi; Good hearted people do not judge others based on looks. Just sayin.

      Date and time
      March 01, 2012, 10:49AM
  • The comments by these people were disgusting and George Negus should know better. If this is what Australian Tv has come to, then I feel sorry for this country and the standards we now live by.


    Date and time
    March 01, 2012, 7:16AM
  • It seems that Stymes and Negus were referring to themselves...'brains at the bottom of the pool' and their sexual inadequacy! A very, very low point in media and clearly displays their ignorance about what our soldiers endure. These 'z' list celebrities need to spend time with the VC winner and learn maturity, intelligence, and graciousness.

    Margaret Heffernan
    Date and time
    March 01, 2012, 7:19AM
  • Good on you Negus, daring to compare yourself to Ben. It is laughable to say you were in life threatening danger anywhere near the scale of our VC man. A classic case of the Journo thinking they are more important than the story.


    Date and time
    March 01, 2012, 7:52AM
  • George don't kid yourself please.!!!! Maybe you were in areas of danger and being very well paid to be there BUT these guys are doing the job .They are the ones fireing the bullets and grenades and helping make our country safe --do not ever put yourself on that level ,


    Date and time
    March 01, 2012, 8:06AM
  • Mr Negus, when did you lose your social, moral and journalistic integrity? Was it 60 minutes ago?


    Date and time
    March 01, 2012, 9:03AM
  • honestly they weren't the brightest comments but people seem to be overly sensitive about the matter just 'cos he's a VC hero.

    what's the big deal about silencing two Taliban machinegun posts? i'd have taken them out. no seriously i am in awe of guys like him but surely he take a (bad) joke?

    40 years ago people were spitting on vietnam vets. while i'm not justifying that disgraceful behaviour, have we gone too far the other way?

    Date and time
    March 01, 2012, 9:11AM

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