Television personality Lisa Wilkinson says she has been portrayed as a ‘shameless media wh**e’ who wrote her new memoir just to even old scores.
The Sunday Project host told a book club lunch in Sydney on Tuesday she had been on ‘quite the ride’ since publicity for her autobiography It Wasn’t Meant to Be Like This began last month.
Wilkinson was speaking at an event organised by Dymocks booksellers at the Four Seasons Hotel which was attended by her author husband Peter FitzSimons and their children Jake, Louis and Billi.
The 61-year-old told an audience of more than 200 guests, almost all of them women, she might be a journalist and TV host and had been an editor and radio presenter but was not really an author.
Television personality Lisa Wilkinson says she has been portrayed as a ‘shameless media wh**e’ who wrote her new memoir just to even up old scores.
Wilkinson spoke out at a book club lunch attended by author husband Peter FitzSimons and daughter Bill (all pictured)
Wilkinson has been criticised for everything from allegedly misrepresenting the pay difference between her and Karl Stefanovic when they hosted Today to fleeing the western suburbs
As a girl growing up in Sydney’s south-west she had also been a ‘ridiculously enthusiastic shop assistant at Wrench’s Shoes in Campbelltown, on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings.’
‘And apparently if you’ve seen any of the tabloid media over the last five weeks, I’m also a craven, shameless media wh**e who’s just written a revenge memoir designed to get back at anyone who’s ever done me wrong.’
Wilkinson has been criticised for everything from allegedly misrepresenting the pay difference between her and Karl Stefanovic when they hosted Today to fleeing the western suburbs.
She has also been accused of perpetually portraying herself as a victim when other women faced far more difficult circumstances.
When Wilkinson took questions at the sold-out lunch a young woman said ‘you’ve been through so much especially in the last five weeks since the book’s come out’ and asked about her mental health.
When Wilkinson took questions at the sold-out lunch a young woman said ‘you’ve been through so much especially in the last five weeks since the book’s come out’ and asked about her mental health
Wilkinson told an audience of more than 200 guests, almost all of them women, she might be a journalist and TV host and had been an editor and radio presenter but was not really an author
‘Don’t ask me that,’ Wilkinson replied.
‘You should ask my husband that. I’m fine, according to Pete. Yep. I’m good. I’m great. I’m terrific. I’m on holidays. But thank you for asking. That’s very kind of you.’
Wilkinson, who reportedly earns $1.7million a year, is on a three-week break from The Sunday Project and is not due to return to the program until December 5.
Channel Ten has denied Wilkinson’s absence was related to the show’s ratings slump or negative publicity surrounding her memoir.
Wilkinson was instead taking time off ahead of the Christmas-New Year period when she would fill in as main weekday host while Carrie Bickmore is on holiday.
Wilkinson, who reportedly earns $1.7million a year, is on a three-week break from The Sunday Project and is not due to return to the program until December 5
Wilkinson used part of her speech to rail against violence against women and highlight a gender pay gap she said it was projected would take between 26 and 135 years to close.
‘And on the treatment of women in some corners of our media, particularly social media, it’s clear that we still have a long way to go,’ she said.
‘It’s the narrative that often develops around women that so easily goes unchecked.
Why do we tolerate it? Because somewhere along the way we have as a society given our permission.’
‘Every time we engage, uncritically, with this nonsense, every time we pick up one of those magazines in the doctor’s waiting room.
‘Every time we click on that salacious link, not believing the ridiculous emotion-charged headline but clicking on that link nonetheless.
‘In these spaces women exist only to be ogled at, picked on, ridiculed, laughed at or scorned.
‘It’s designed to make us feel better about our own lot in life but it doesn’t, it simply brings out the very worst in human nature.’
Mark Latham claimed an old classmate of Wilkinson’s (pictured) had told him the TV star had ‘always been about the money’ and sold freebies from her first job to make a profit
Wilkinson described the arduous process of writing the 186,000 word manuscript she eventually submitted to her publisher, HarperCollins.
‘One of the best things about writing your autobiography is finishing it and knowing that you’ll never be asked to do it again,’ she said.
‘And maybe now despite all of my own previous predictions I actually am an author.’
One of Wilkinson’s fiercest critics has been NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham who used parliamentary privilege to her attack her in the Upper House.
Mr Latham blasted Wilkinson for ‘reinventing herself as a victim of the gender pay gap at Channel Nine’ and claimed she had ‘always been about the money’.
He said Wilkinson, a former editor of Dolly and Cleo, couldn’t leave Sydney’s western suburbs fast enough and used to flog her magazine freebies at a local market.
Mr Latham said publicity surrounding Wilkinson’s book revealed she had been paid more than her onetime Today Show co-host for many years.
The fiery politician is a renowned advocate for Sydney’s western suburbs, Situs Slot RTG Terpercaya Indonesia having been born and educated in the area and once representing the seat of Werriwa.
‘Recently one of Wilkinson’s old classmates contacted me to say, ‘That’s Lisa, it’s always been about the money’,’ the former federal Labor Opposition leader said last Wednesday.
‘We went to Campbelltown High together and she couldn’t get out of here fast enough,’ Mr Latham said Wilkinson’s old classmate told him.
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‘When she was editor at Dolly and Cleo magazines Wilkinson would take the free promotional merchandise sent to her and sell them at the weekend markets and pocket the funds.
‘She’s always been as tight as all get out, it’s always about the money and the victimhood.’
Wilkinson claims in her new book that Stefanovic proposed in August 2015 they join forces to renegotiate their Nine contracts.
But she claims he ended up ditching this idea and instead played rival networks Nine and Seven off against each other in order to secure a better deal for himself.
The classmate also claimed Wilkinson (pictured with her husband Peter) couldn’t have left Campbelltown fast enough despite the star saying she holds fond memories of her hometown
One Nation Leader Mark Latham (pictured) slammed the 61-year-old for ‘reinventing herself as a victim of the gender pay gap at Channel Nine’ during a parliamentary address on Wednesday
Stefanovic was soon at the centre of a bidding war between Nine and Seven that resulted in him re-signing a five-year deal with Nine worth at least $2million per year.
Wilkinson’s deal was worth significantly less, about $780,000 a year, and was only for two years, with the host describing the resulting pay disparity between them ‘so off the charts that no-one would have believed it’.
It Wasn’t Meant To Be Like This by Lisa Wilkinson is published by HarperCollins
However, in an article written by political journalist Samantha Maiden, sources at Nine disputed her claims Stefanovic was ‘paid double’ what she earned.
They claim it was Wilkinson who was paid much more than Stefanovic for ‘many years’ after the pair first teamed up on Nine’s breakfast flagship in 2006.
Mr Latham slammed Wilkinson for having ‘a PhD in victimology’ and said the TV personality had ‘played the victim card’ while promoting her book online.
He referred to a lengthy Instagram post Wilkinson uploaded on November 8 in which she said the writing process for her book often saw her looking ‘puffy’ with ‘mascara-stained eyes after hours of tears’.
Alongside the caption, the mother-of-three shared a candid photo of herself at home with son Jake, looking deep in thought as she wrote her autobiography.
‘Ever wondered what writing a book looks like?
For me it was often like this: puffy, mascara-stained eyes after hours of tears and many months of a complete crisis of confidence, absolutely convinced I just wasn’t up to the task,’ she said.
Mr Latham claimed Wilkinson (pictured with her son Jake) was feigning distress and ‘playing the victim card’ by posting this photo to Instagram on Monday
Wilkinson (right) alleges in her new book Stefanovic (left) proposed in August 2015 they join forces to renegotiate their Nine contracts but later ditched her to forge a better deal
Wilkinson revealed she was ‘comforted’ by son Jake one night in March as he acted as her editor and ‘assured’ her she was capable of submitting the manuscript.
‘Boo hoo for her first world problems,’ Mr Latham said of that social media post.
‘Posting a picture from her Mosman mansion, with smudged mascara, feigning distress, while also carefully – in a classic product placement – posing with copies of Mr Wilkinson’s ghost-written books in front of her.’
Mr Latham said for ‘elites’ like Wilkinson, the gender pay-gap debate was just ‘another way of enriching themselves at the expense of others’.
Mr Latham slammed Wilkinson (pictured with Karl Stefanovic) for having ‘a PhD in victimology’ and said the TV personality had ‘played the victim card’ while promoting her book online
Wilkinson (pictured) was the editor of Dolly magazine by the time she was 21 and the editor at rival magazine Cleo just four years later
‘There’s never any mention of the plight of migrant woman or poorly-paid factory jobs or sweatshops, there’s never any mention of the indigenous women having the life beaten out of them in country NSW hellholes,’ he said.
Mr Latham questioned how ‘a millionaire like Wilkinson living the high life in a Mosman mansion’ can portray herself like a victim and concluded by stating: ‘If this is feminism then God help the women of the world.’
The Project has lost almost a third of its audience since 2011 and its five-city metro ratings have plummeted from 538,000 to an all-time low of just 367,000 this year.
The national audience, which includes regional viewers, has also seen a similar percentage drop from 725,000 in 2011 to 490,000 in 2021.
In January 2018, Wilkinson (pictured with co-hosts Tommy Little and Waleed Aly) joined Channel 10’s The Project for a rumoured multimillion-dollar pay packet