Negus and Stynes face anger over The Circle ‘dud root’ comments

Ten’s The Circle is facing a growing backlash over offensive comments its presenters made about decorated war hero Ben Roberts-Smith.

Despite an on air apology from presenter Yumi Stynes for the banter she and guest George Negus swapped over the soldier’s intellect and sex life, public anger appears to be growing online. At the time of posting both Negus and Stynes were in the top ten trending topics on Twitter.   

The furore has also been fuelled by coverage on TV, online and on talkback radio.

Ten said in a statement: “Network Ten apologises for the comments made on The Circle yesterday surrounding Victoria cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith. We recognises 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.”

Stynes apologised on The Circle. She said: “My phone has been running hot I have to say, and it’s not in a good way. I’ve had radio stations call me from all different places, to ask about what I said on this show yesterday about the Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith. So here’s what happened – Gorgi was talking about a photo she has seen in the paper on Saturday, and I don’t know much about him and I don’t know much about the defense force, so I saw this very handsome guy….”

“Anyway so I made a joke because how could anyone be so perfect. What I didn’t estimate was how much my joke was not appreciated, I sort of intimated that maybe he wasn’t smart because how could you be that buff and spend that much time in the gym and be smart as well. So 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 the people who work in the defence force and I’ve never met Ben but I’m sure he’s lovely and he does seem like a big family man – so big apologies about that. It made me feel sick actually, most people know that I’m good hearted.”

Roberts-Smith issued a statement 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.

“I have read the statements from both Yumi and George 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.”

Negus said: ”

“Read properly and in context, it can be seen that what I actually intended to be a ‘tongue-in-cheek quip’ about men generally with great bodies. In no way was it meant to be a comment or a reflection on Corporal Ben Roberts – Smith, directly or otherwise.

“However, if my comment has unintentionally offended Ben, his family, or his ADF / SAS colleagues, obviously I am sorry.”


  1. Kirsten
    29 Feb 12
    9:38 pm

  2. This is bollocks.

    Women are denigrated all the time.

    Sure, it’s not smart or nice but get some perspective.

  3. Paul
    29 Feb 12
    9:43 pm

  4. Some things you can never apologise for. You’ve said it. I won’t forget. Nor will a lot of others. Whats-her-name, the brainless ugly one, can work at something more menial that she may excel at. Negus, you’ve always been a smug, self-satisfied, odious moron, but surely now just go & bugger-off somewhere & be gone.

  5. miller
    29 Feb 12
    10:19 pm

  6. This will all be forgotten, as it should be, in the morning. If it isn’t i’ll add my name to the chorus of the outraged. It’s an OUTRAGE!!!!

  7. liinda
    29 Feb 12
    10:30 pm

  8. how disrespectful

  9. David
    29 Feb 12
    11:02 pm

  10. How does it feel to know that 4 out of 5 people in Australia will give you one in a dark alley to the rest of your miserable lives.

  11. Fred
    29 Feb 12
    11:17 pm

  12. I dunno, the bloke is like 2 metres tall, built like a brick shithouse and storms machine gun nests of enemies, killing them all with his bare hands.

    And with uber-manly qualities like this, he’s apparently a dud root? Negus is jealous methinks.

  13. ash
    1 Mar 12
    1:40 am

  14. so.. which companies advertise during The Circle? Which companies made this drivel possible?

  15. Dorothy
    1 Mar 12
    7:52 am

  16. People will get outraged over anything. This was a fairly innocuous comment which I’m sure Stynes said thinking she was being witty or amusing. It flopped. Kyle Sandilands says things like this every morning to a far bigger audience.

  17. Lucio
    1 Mar 12
    8:10 am

  18. @ Kirsten – so because “this happens to women all the time”, makes it acceptable?! You’re kidding right? Inconceivable that Negus was unaware of the chap’s identity, regardless, it simply shouldn’t be said and it demonstrates what’s left in his career tank. Yumi – well does one even need to bother. Nasty schoolyard mentality – what wankers.

  19. Tony
    1 Mar 12
    8:17 am

  20. Is this another pathetic attempt by Channel 10 to fill a show with purile quips and
    potty mouth nonsense in an attempt to gain ratings.

    The 6pm, sorry 6.30pm, 7pm Project (sorry, it has changed timeslots so often I’ve forgotten what you call it this week!) is no different.

    George is so confused about the timeslot, he showed up on The Circle.

    And all the quips are carefully scripted and just full of people trying to
    be a smart arse. The name of the program The Circle is very appropriate as it appears to be disappearing in ever decreasing circles.

    A public apology as an official station announcement on-air
    in peak time viewing is just the start of appropriate action.

    But all there is are standard retractions that keep you out of harms way whilst you hope like hell it goes away.

    And you can imagine all the back-slapping self congratulatory smugness about just how much publicity it has generated for the program will only encourage continued behavior of the same nature.


  21. Groucho
    1 Mar 12
    9:06 am

  22. Ben Roberts Smith is a big, strong, brave boy. It is hard to belive he gives a shit about being called a dud root by some skank and some aged buffoon.

  23. Very Apt
    1 Mar 12
    9:26 am

  24. The Circle. Jerks.

  25. KD
    1 Mar 12
    9:47 am

  26. Or are there deeper issues afoot? That journalism has been reduced to the ranks of talentless, uneducated morons? That someone weeping into their undercooked souffle has two-million glued during prime time? That social media, the digital age etc has so dumbed down the populace that we’ve forgotten what quality even looks like anymore? Thank God for the ABC, I say!

  27. Anonymous
    1 Mar 12
    10:10 am

  28. I see TEN is using their enormous lead-in audience from “Breakfast” well. You wouldn’t want that massive number of eyeballs going to waste, would you?

  29. Alison_F
    1 Mar 12
    10:20 am

  30. I’m surprised at how offended everyone in this thread is by some inane comments on a TV show. Who cares? Apparently the ‘dud root’ doesn’t according to SMH today. As Groucho says, he is a big strong boy who can clearly look after himself.

  31. goodone
    1 Mar 12
    11:15 am

  32. Um..yeah, war hero’s are pretty sacred.

  33. Seriously?
    1 Mar 12
    11:46 am

  34. @ Kirsten it’s not about denigrating men it’s about disrespecting someone who is willing to give so much for his country.

  35. julie
    1 Mar 12
    11:50 am

  36. # Alison_F – agree. I thought I was on for a second there. Relax, people…

  37. Peter Rush
    1 Mar 12
    12:18 pm

  38. I like the circle. Forgetting the pathetically cheesey infomercials – errrrrr!, where else do you find such a smart bunch of ballsy straight-talking females on a tv panel? It’s the nature of off-the -cuff humour that it goes wrong in a blink. Cut them some slack you gronks. I mean, No one with half-a-brain could think for a second that these two really thought ill of a war hero. Have I called you all gronks already?-oh yeah, there it is.

    1 Mar 12
    12:54 pm

  40. Coming from someone with the apparent IQ of a shoe flap and who’s only life threatening experience would be breaking in a new pair of high heels it is not unexpected but Negus should know better

  41. MIke
    1 Mar 12
    12:57 pm

  42. A bimbo and a moron.
    Or is that a never-was and a has-been?

  43. meh
    1 Mar 12
    1:18 pm

  44. Massive over reaction. Dumb comments for sure, but is it necessarily worth the media beat up and protracted viewer/non viewer/RSL outrage? Better start the witch hunt people, hound the advertisers out of the show and carry on like a sensitive bunch of nancies. Move on

  45. MattP
    1 Mar 12
    1:45 pm

  46. Regardless of whether or not the comments and subsequent outrage are appropriate, now whenever one hears Yumi they will think brainless.

    An abject lesson in how fickle brands, including personal brands, are.

    The power of the media indeed.

  47. negus fan
    1 Mar 12
    2:20 pm

  48. I had sex with George Negus and he is a fantastic root.

  49. Trevor Trevorsen
    1 Mar 12
    2:26 pm

  50. That whole “engagement” thing was hilarious. “Say you’re getting married, that’ll take the heat off.” Wonder if the freshly-fiancéd knew anything about it? A shotgun engagement?

  51. Alison_F
    1 Mar 12
    2:28 pm

  52. That’s funny, I had sex with George Negus too! He was amaaaaazing and he likes a good cuddle, too!

  53. Anonymous
    1 Mar 12
    2:41 pm

  54. This is by far the most ridiculous over reaction to a comment in recent history. Far out. People seriously need to get a grip.

  55. Paul
    1 Mar 12
    2:47 pm

  56. Well you would say that George … sorry, Anonymous

  57. Lucas Leiva
    1 Mar 12
    3:02 pm

  58. Imagine the outrage if Yumi and George spoke ill of someone who did something that actually matters?

  59. Offal Spokesperson
    1 Mar 12
    3:15 pm

  60. So, this is what passes for entertainment and information on daytime TV is it?

    The comments and the commentators are pretty much irrelevant. The fact that they are filling air time with such crap astounds me.

  61. James
    1 Mar 12
    3:17 pm

  62. Sack them both, in fact take the show off air.

  63. paul
    1 Mar 12
    3:27 pm

  64. At least the VC hero Ben would be able to say to Yumi…I’m going to hunt you down…and actually mean it lol

  65. Sally
    1 Mar 12
    3:34 pm

  66. Change the Circle to Zero and you have it one. A nothing show.

  67. Cody C
    1 Mar 12
    3:35 pm

  68. A storm in a tea cup. However, I’ll happily volunteer to find out if he’s a dud root.

  69. Yawn
    1 Mar 12
    3:36 pm

  70. Yawn, yes it was wrong but he is a big boy that kills people for a living, I’m sure he will be alright.

    As for The Circle, their ratings will go down the tube, they’ll be taken off the air and replaced by another group of Australian Idol, Biggest Loser or Big Brother rejects with no brains who think their important… so don’t get outraged – just let it go!

  71. MM
    1 Mar 12
    4:30 pm

  72. Boring. I dare say he couldn’t care less what they had to say, nor should the rest of the todaytonight/a current affair watching morons.

  73. Lee
    1 Mar 12
    4:38 pm

  74. oh shit Ive run out of sauce and I have half a pie left

  75. Belinda
    1 Mar 12
    4:41 pm

  76. Roberts-Smith singlehanded storms a machine gun position in order to save his comrades, and has to be subjected to inane unfunny comments from a bimbo who is too lazy to even google on someone she is talking about on her show. Yumi…you are no talent, no respect, and hopefuly no future career

  77. misa
    1 Mar 12
    4:53 pm


  79. Debbie
    1 Mar 12
    5:25 pm

  80. Have to agree with MISA – storm in a teacup. Yumi and Geroge seem like nice people who said somethign silly on the tele.

    They both apologised and let’s end it there…

    I have the highest respect for anyone awarded a VC, but i think both Yumi and George were just bantering away and said some silly stuff.

    People seem to really want their pound of flesh these days.

    All of us say silly stuff from time to time, but we’re lucky enough not to be on the tele when this happens.

    Forgive and forget

  81. Hoin
    1 Mar 12
    5:39 pm

  82. I had never heard of The Circle before this. I suppose they got the name from the lyrics in that classic Peter Sarstedt song from 1969 Where Do You Go To My Lovely – “And the young men who move in your circle, they hang on every word you speak, yes they do”.

    Puts the “dud root” comment into context, doesn’t it?

  83. John Grono
    1 Mar 12
    6:16 pm

  84. Hmmmm … who would I rather in the trenches with me? Yumi or Ben? ;Nuff said.

    For your penance Yumi, you are sentenced to walking the Kokoda Track to give you time to reflect on things.

  85. Homer Rotica
    1 Mar 12
    9:21 pm

  86. @ John Grono – I’d much rather be in a trench with Yumi

  87. Paul
    1 Mar 12
    9:59 pm

  88. So should we forgive Kyle for saying stupid things or has he set precedence for this behaviour

  89. John Grono
    2 Mar 12
    8:27 am

  90. Touche Homer. Figuratively, not literally.

  91. steve howells
    2 Mar 12
    10:55 am

  92. the average joe & jill bloggs wouldn’t have clue what it is like to be on call 24/7/365 as the defence forces are and then be required to put your life on the line.

    stynes – has a lot to learn about researching

    negus – from your career experiences you should know.

    move on as the media doen’t really matter that much

    journalist, politicians, car sales & real estate people

    same same

  93. Suzie Q
    2 Mar 12
    2:13 pm

  94. The Circle should have all its advertising pulled! This is a disgraceful display of un Australian behaviour form Stynes. What a stupid excuse for a female and Negus – get over yourself you are so out of line.

  95. Mavis
    2 Mar 12
    5:19 pm

  96. Could come please tell me if this inane programme Circle was live or pre recorded . If the latter Channel 10 had the responsibility to see that this disrespectful rubbish did not go air. I hope Ben did not spend too much time looking for Styne’s brains at the bottom of the pool – the day she came off the assembly line there was a malfunction and she by passed the brains department.
    As for Negus – way down in my estimation.,

  97. john
    3 Mar 12
    12:15 pm

  98. I’m sorry, when did Australia become a military dictatorship ?

    @”the average joe & jill bloggs wouldn’t have clue what it is like to be on call 24/7/365 as the defence forces are and then be required to put your life on the line.”

    So **ing what ?

  99. Rushie
    6 Mar 12
    2:50 pm

  100. I was prepared to let this slide as one of those errors-of-comedy but after watching the tv panel “apology” from Stynes and Negus, It was a shocker. Negus had the nerve to say he’s been in war zones “for his country” and, expecting that we’d be surprised added “I don’t consider myself a war hero”. Neither do we George–and you haven’t done anything for your country. I suspect whatever you’ve done, you’ve done because you enjoy the adrenalin and pretending you’re actually a somebody on the world stage. And stynes “apology” was a split-second quip tagged on to a long, and as far as I could tell, unapologetic rant. It’s one thing to make a mistake. It’s another to defend the indefensible. These two make me pewk.

  101. richie
    7 Mar 12
    9:56 am

  102. what an overreaction! so they poked fun and a guy who, yes, is in the army.

    so what?

    people get ripped to shreds all the time on TV, people who have done wonderful, brave things. there seems to be a view that service men and women are a complete ‘no go’ when it comes to satire, when in fact no one is.

  103. gg
    7 Mar 12
    10:10 am

  104. I knew someone was going to cry “un-Australian”! Well done Suzie Q! A ridiculous phrase.

  105. Greg
    8 Mar 12
    4:12 pm

  106. There’s only one solution here – put Yumi on the front line. Let her be among Australia’s first female combat troops. Perhaps then she will understand (though, more likely, she won’t survive).

    Even her apology shows she simply doesn’t understand. She’s sorry for the fact so many people are upset with her, but she simply doesn’t have the brain power to comprehend why those people are upset.

    Nobody wins the Victoria Cross. It’s an award that is bestowed on a select few (only two Victoria Cross of Australias have been awarded) for demonstrating valour.

    It’s not about sexism; it’s not about military dictatorships; nor is it about satire. It’s about respect for an individual who has and will be there, to fight for our freedom – potentially at the cost of his own life. That is something that does demand the highest respect – because I’d wager those making such stupid remarks above wouldn’t be standing apost if duty called.

  107. Doughboy
    9 Mar 12
    11:25 pm

  108. I am not defending the comments about a VC recipient on The Circle.


    Wouldn’t it be terrible if a family owned hardware company announced that they were pulling their sponsorship of the show when their sponsorship had already ended?

    Wouldn’t it be worse if they used it to get media coverage based on their Uncles that died in WW2 as the reason for their indignation.

    Would that be cheap if that happened?


  109. Jeremy
    22 Mar 12
    10:22 pm

  110. Oh, get over it. What a bunch of pansies.

    Im sure he has enough self-confidence to nt care, and why should the rest of you.

    Man. Im glad i left Australia. You are such a pack of boring, lazy, obese morons, typically with no real interests aside from watching today tonight and whining like babies a out mundane things like this.

    My god, go back to school, ake up a musical instrument, read a book. Jus do something, anything.

  111. Jeremy
    22 Mar 12
    10:29 pm

  112. And whatever happened to laid back, happy-go-lucky australia? Somwhere it morphed into a bunch of apathetic, empty, wilfully ignorant fools who talk about nothing but complete nonsense. As a group, completely clueless about anything substantial, and yet overwhelming bold in your group-think views on welfare, economics, and matters tha out to be left to people of some intellect and less obvious cognitive bias.

    Again, so glad I left Australia. Democracy doesnt work when people are so damned vapid and clueless.

  113. In fairness
    24 Mar 12
    5:55 pm

  114. This bloke is not only the most decorated soldier in Australia, but the most decorated soldier in the Commonwealth (still living).

    I’m sure he couldn’t give a rats about Yumi or George’s comments, but those comments obviously reflect on them as individuals. I’m as anti war as a Nepalese hippy, but the fact is people are called on to defend our country in deserts millions of miles away for reasons we’ll probably never know.

    And the ones who do, should be respected.

    Respect for Ben for not calling Yumi a brainless bimbo without the looks to justify it or George a senile fuckwit in response. He’s definitely the bigger person in all of this.