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Telegraph columnist Annette Sharp claims she is writing about Sam Armytage’s appearance to ‘champion’ women

Sharp | Source: Twitter profile

Sharp | Source: Twitter profile

Sunrise presenter Armytage

Sunrise presenter Armytage

The Daily Telegraph columnist behind a photo spread attacking Samantha Armytage’s appearance has today claimed that she has actually been “championing” women in her criticisms of the Sunrise presenter.

Yesterday’s column from Annette Sharp focused on the Seven makeover show Bringing Sexy Back which is fronted by Armytage. The article was illustrated with a number of old photographs of a casually dressed Armytage off duty. In the article Sharp suggested Armytage was was “the living embodiment of the professional transformation required” by “a team of hair and makeup professionals, stylists and wardrobe experts” to be ready to go on air.

The column led to Armytage yesterday telling viewers: “Normally I ignore the crap that comes from this particular newspaper. But some days you have to fight for yourself.

The online version of yesterday's attack on Armytage

The online version of yesterday’s Telegraph attack on Armytage

“I don’t get what this story is. Maybe it’s to shame me for being a size twelve. I understand that there is interest in my life when I’m not on duty but I don’t understand why newspapers have to dredge up old pictures that have absolutely no news value on such a big day.

“I’ve never said I’m a model, I’ve never pretended I was skinny. I do the best I can with what I’ve got.

“I don’t understand this shaming. I don’t know whether it’s trying to bully me into an eating disorder. It’s cowardly and it’s mean.”

Armytage reacts to the column on Sunrise:

Sharp then took to Twitter to claim she was showing the “truth” about Armytage in the column.

annette sharp tweet armytage

 

Armytage is on the cover of the current edition of Australian Women’s Weekly.

armytage womens weekly AWW

Sharp suggested that Armytage was being “hysterical” in her claim of fat shaming.

annette sharp armytage hysterical

However, Sharp’s position weakened yesterday afternoon when fellow News Corp title The Australian published an email to photo agencies from the Telegraph’s picture desk circulated as the article was being prepared. According to The Australian, the email read:

“Looking for sam armytage looking scruffy/too casual/not sexy/bad for asap please — OK to go back and send older pics — dates on them would be good. Thanks v much.”

Michael Pell

Pell: Masterminded the successful transition from Doyle to Armytage

Sharp has been a long time critic of Armytage and Sunrise producer Michael Pell.

Last year when Armytage succeeded Melissa Doyle in the Sunrise chair, Sharp wrote a lengthy opinion piece suggesting that Pell should be sacked because of sliding ratings.

However, until the move, Nine’s Today had been closing the gap on Sunrise. With Armytage in place, the audience stabilised, and recent months have seen Sunrise stretch its lead again.

Sharp’s article calling for Pell to go appears to have since been deleted from The Tele’s online archive.

However, Sharp has continued the attacks on Armytage. Seven reportedly sought legal advice over a claim by Sharp that Armytage has declined to do a photoshoot with her predecessor.

And during Seven’s coverage of the MH17 disaster in July, Sharp labelled Armytage “Little Miss Giggles”.

sharp armytage giggles

More recently, Sharp labelled Armytage a “helicopter host” in fronting Bringing Sexy Back, which has been struggling in the ratings. Sharp claimed Armytage was a presenter “who flies in to conduct hostings but fails to immerse themselves in the show”.

In today’s Telegraph, Sharp was unapologetic for her coverage of Armytage. She claimed:

“Armytage and her Sunrise cohorts don’t like me for championing Melissa Doyle when she was shafted from the show to make way for Armytage — something she and her colleagues, all the way up to network owner Kerry Stokes — spun like silk. It seems to me it was my championing of women that got me into this fine mess.”

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