Inside Lisa Wilkinson’s 12 months from HELL: How one of Australia’s highest profiles journalists has become the story after a series of controversies – and her latest scandal could see her end up on the wrong side of the law
- Former Channel 10 colleague slammed Lisa Wilkinson, calling her a ‘big head’
- Trial of man accused of raping Brittany Higgins delayed due to Wilkinson speech
- Bruce Lehrmann has pleaded not guilty to assaulting Ms Higgins in Canberra
- It was one of several missteps by the highly-paid Channel Ten star in last year
Lisa Wilkinson’s bungled Logies acceptance speech is the latest chapter in a hellish year for the highly paid The Project co-host and Network 10 star.
From a releasing a tell-all memoir that didn’t go over well with colleagues and now sits in bargain bins, to a humiliating airport search, to going on the attack after photos of her sipping a solo margarita were published, to the possibility of contempt charges, it’s been a challenging year.
Wilkinson’s televised comments about Brittany Higgins caused ACT Chief Justice Lucy McCallum to order a delay in the trial of the former political staffer’s accused rapist, Bruce Lehrmann.
In the same moment the star, who is reportedly paid $1.7million by Channel Ten, celebrated one of her journalism career highlights, Wilkinson, 62, added to a growing lowlights reel from the past year.
Here is a selection of Wilkinson’s most forgettable moments when she became the story in the past year.
Lisa Wilkinson’s bungled Logies acceptance speech is the latest chapter in a hellish year for The Project’s popular co-host and highly-paid network star
Ms Wilkinson with husband Peter FitzSimons, an author, popular columnist and former Wallaby rugby player
Logies week got off to a bad start when Wilkinson was left fuming after the metal underwire in her bra showed up during an airport scan, prompting an ’embarrassing’ public pat down.
She took to Twitter to share her ‘inappropriate’ experience prompting dozens of women to come forward with their own security screening horror stories.
‘At Brisbane Airport & Adelaide Airport the scan showed up the underwire in my bra & zip on my jeans & I had to have a full pat-down in both areas,’ Wilkinson tweeted.
‘Embarrassing, uncomfortable, inappropriate and should be fixed.’
Lisa Wilkinson (pictured in 2019) has been left fuming after an airport scan found metal underwire in her bra prompting an ’embarrassing’ public pat down
The TV host took to Twitter to complain about the ‘inappropriate’ experience prompting dozens of women to share their own security screening horror stories
Wilkinson also expressed support for ABC journalist Louise Milligan who had a similar experience and was apologised to by Sydney Airport in the thread.
The two women attracted widespread support over the issue with many other women tweeting that they’d felt targeted for body pat-downs.
Wilkinson won two Logies on what should have been a proud night on Sunday.
She was part of The Project team for one for Most Popular Panel or Current Affairs Program and for Outstanding News Coverage for their interview with political staffer Ms Higgins.
But after praising Ms Higgins in her acceptance speech, there is speculation Wilkinson could face charges, a top barrister said.
Her comments directly led to the trial of Ms Higgins’ accused rapist being delayed.
Bruce Lehrmann was granted a temporary stay in the ACT Supreme Court on Monday, after his lawyer said a jury trial would be ‘untenable’ following the reporting of Wilkinson’s speech.
Dr Matthew Collins, President of the Australian Bar Association, told Sunrise on Wednesday that it is a ‘serious possibility’ that authorities may look into charging Wilkinson with contempt of court.
In the same moment the star, who is reportedly paid $1.7million by Channel Ten, celebrated one of her journalism career highlights, she added to a growing lowlights reel from the past year
Ms Wilkinson met with the Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold on June 15 – prior to the Logies – to discuss the evidence that she would give at the trial.
At the meeting she read the speech she planned to give if she won the Logie and was warned about it.
Justice McCallum said Ms Wilkinson went ahead with her plans in spite of the warning.
‘Notwithstanding that clear and appropriate warning, upon receiving the award, Ms Wilkinson gave a speech in which she openly referred to and praised the complainant in the present trial,’ she said.
Justice McCallum said recent media publicity had prejudged Lehrmann’s right to a fair trial.
TV presenter Lisa Wilkinson (left) is pictured with former political staffer Brittany Higgins (right)
‘The case has accordingly attracted a level of attention in the media … that while not unprecedented, is certainly extreme,’ she said.
‘Extensive media reporting of alleged criminal conduct is not mischievous in itself.
‘What is a potential mischief is media reporting of such issues in such a way … it impacts the criminal case.’
A spokesperson for Network 10 released a statement supporting Lisa Wilkinson and said they take their legal responsibilities ‘very seriously’.
‘Network 10 acknowledges the ruling by Chief Justice McCallum and fully supports Lisa Wilkinson,’ the statement read.
Sky’s Rohan Dean weighed in, posing the question of whether Channel 10 will stand down Ms Wilkinson over her comments
Radio 4BC breakfast show host Neil Breen, who was the executive producer when Ms Wilkinson presented Today on Channel Nine, criticised Ms Wilkinson on Wednesday morning
Former Channel 10 weather presenter Tim Bailey called Lisa Wilkinson a ‘big head’ in a now deleted tweet
Tim Bailey is pictured on November 9, 2017 in Sydney. In a now deleted Twitter post, he told former Channel 10 colleague Lisa Wilkinson to ‘pull ya head in’
The fallout from Wilkinson’s Logies speech led long-time 10 weather presenter Tim Bailey to rip into Wilkinson in a brutal tweet on Wednesday, calling her a ‘big head’, while news anchor Sandra Sully and Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr also joined the pile-on.
‘Hey Lisa, pull ya head in,’ Bailey said in a now-deleted message. ‘I know this might be difficult, because it is a very big head. But please try.’
He added: ‘#LisaWilkinson #Logies2022 #carparkthief’.
Legendary 10 news anchor Sandra Sully also liked a tweet from showbusiness reporter Peter Ford blasting Wilkinson’s speech.
That message said: ‘Such serious consequences from Lisa Wilkinson… if only she’d stuck to silly stories like the paparazzi who stalked her in Chapel St.’
Separately, Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr expressed disbelief on the breakfast TV show on Wednesday, saying Seven always runs stories by their lawyers before going to air.
Radio 4BC breakfast show host Neil Breen, who was the executive producer when Wilkinson presented Today on Channel Nine, criticised Wilkinson on Wednesday morning.
Breen said the circumstances behind the indefinite postponement in the trial of Bruce Lehrmann, were ‘absolutely extraordinary’.
Breen said he had been warning for the past year that ‘the allegations can be made, but someone needs a fair trial’.
‘That is the premise of our justice system,’ he said.
‘The magistrates and the Supreme Court justices in the ACT have been warning for some time now about journalists to calm down on the commentary regarding this case.
‘Because once Bruce Lehrmann stands trial, then he has to get a fair trial.’
When Wilkinson dined alone with just a margarita for company on a Wednesday night in March, the published photos sent her into a spin that quickly got messy
When Wilkinson dined alone with just a margarita for company on a Wednesday night in March, the published photos sent her into a spin that quickly got messy.
She raged at Daily Mail Australia over what was a standard piece of celebrity reporting calling the photographer a ‘creepy old man’ whose actions were ‘menacing’.
That led the photographer who took the photos to defend himself in an open letter refuting her claim he had walked in front of her to shoot his photos.
He also pointed out she was sitting ‘in the front window of a busy hotel on possibly Melbourne’s busiest street’ and was visible to thousands of people walking by.
The photographer also shot back, saying that he is 10 years younger than her – but that making anyone’s age was ‘degrading… and offensive’.
He also pointed out Ms Wilkinson has reported widely on the private lives of others – both on mainstream television and in her stints editing gossip magazines, which included Australian Women’s Weekly, Cleo and Dolly.
The episode wasn’t taken as seriously by her Project co-host, Peter Heliar.
He awkwardly joked during a live cross to her in Broome, ‘I think you’re there by yourself. You might want to go grab a margarita.’
‘Yeah, I will. I definitely will,’ she joked.
Wilkinson made headlines last October over her bombshell memoir that in part details her fraught relationship with former Today co-host Karl Stefanovic
TELL-ALL BOOK TENSIONS
Wilkinson made headlines last October over her bombshell memoir that in part details her fraught relationship with former Today co-host Karl Stefanovic.
At the Logies special care was taken to ensure the former co-hosts were kept well apart in the event seating plan.
Tensions escalated between the pair late last year when Wilkinson released her memoir, It Wasn’t Meant to Be Like This.
In her tell-all book, Lisa claimed former co-host Karl, 47, gave her the cold shoulder in the weeks before she was sacked by Nine.
Lisa explained that she and her husband, Peter FitzSimons, had invited Karl and his partner, Jasmine Yarbrough, to attend their 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony in October 2017.
Ouch: Lisa Wilkinson’s (pictured) new book has hit a road bump, with prices slashed to rock bottom lows as the tell-all tome hits bargain bins at retailers Australia wide. The Project host’s memoir It Wasn’t Meant to be Like has been dramatically discounted at major stores
Honest and open: Lisa Wilkinson admitted nights writing her memoir saw her looking ‘puffy’ with ‘mascara-stained eyes after hours of tears’ in a candid Instagram post on Monday. She shared this photo with son Jake to Instagram
Two days before the event, however, the couple contacted Peter to say they wouldn’t be attending the celebrations because they’d extended their overseas holiday.
‘In the ten days since [the ceremony] Karl hadn’t contacted me, his co-host of almost eleven years, at all. No phone message, no text, no apology, not even a simple congrats. Just complete silence,’ Lisa alleged.
Before publication the Channel Ten star, 61, admitted nights during the writing process for It Wasn’t Meant To Be Like This often saw her looking ‘puffy’ with ‘mascara-stained eyes after hours of tears’.
Alongside the caption, the Sunday Project host shared a candid photo of herself at home with son Jake, looking deep in thought as she wrote her autobiography.
Five months after release the book was spotted in a K-Mart bargain bin selling for $6 – down from its initial price of $24.
It has however also been nominated in the Australian Book Industry Awards for Book Of The Year (Biography).
OneFour rappers Spenny – Spencer Magologo (left) , Jemz – Jerome Misa (centre) and YP – Pio Misa (right) pictured with Lisa Wilkinson (back centre)
PHOTOGRAPHED WITH CRIMINAL
Just last week Ms Wilkinson was pictured posing with a notorious OneFour rapper who bashed a stranger with a chair leg in a pokie room.
The photo was uploaded to Instagram by OneFour, and showed TV star Wilkinson smiling with rappers Spencer Magologo, Salec Sua and Jerome Misa, after she interviewed the rap group.
Misa, who goes by the rapping name YP, was jailed in 2019 over a brutal pokie room bashing.
OneFour rapper YP was jailed in 2019 over a pokie room bashing at Carousel Inn, Rooty Hill along with former member Dahcell Ramos
Details of the horrific incident were uncovered in court at the time, with Misa and former OneFour member Dahcell Ramos brutally assaulting three men at the Carousel Inn in Rooty Hill, leaving one so severely beaten that he was left unconscious on the floor and covered in blood.
ACCUSATIONS OF BEING ‘OUT OF TOUCH’
In May, Ms Wilkinson grilled the government over the ‘financial pain’ of their newest scheme, which allows first home buyers to use their superannuation to put towards a deposit for a home, will cause.
The Project host’s stance over the government scheme has been questioned online, with many labelling the former Today Show host ‘out of touch’ due to the fact she has resided in mansions in affluent suburbs for the last 29 years. (Pictured: Lisa’s former home in Mosman)
‘Super is meant for retirement. Is it really responsible to encourage young Aussies to go for short-term gain when they could end up with long-term financial pain,’ she said to Liberal Senator and then-Superannuation minister Jane Hume.
Her comments about government scheme were questioned online, with many labelling the former Today Show host ‘out of touch’ due to the fact she has resided in mansions in affluent suburbs for the last 29 years.
She currently lives with her husband, author and journalist Peter FitzSimons, in a multi-million dollar home in Cremorne.
They previously owned a a five bedroom, three bathroom mansion in Mosman with harbour views.