News of Lisa Wilkinson’s departure from The Project has been met with mixed reactions from fans and colleagues.
Wilkinson shocked viewers by announcing her departure from the Channel 10 program in a farewell speech at the end of the show on Sunday night.
In her speech, Wilkinson said “relentless targeted toxicity” she claimed to have received from sections of the media after her infamous Logies speech had taken a toll.
The veteran TV presenter came under fire when her speech caused the trial of Bruce Lehrmann — the man accused of raping Brittany Higgins — to be delayed.
“The last six months have not been easy and the relentless targeted toxicity by some sections of the media has taken a toll — not just on me but on people I love,” she said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above criticism. Far from it. I’m human and I don’t always get it right. But by God I’ve tried.”
Entertainment journalist and media commentator Peter Ford was clearly unimpressed with Wilkinson’s reasons for leaving the show.
“Only Lisa could manage to announce ‘her decision’ and make herself a victim at the same time. All the hard work she’s put in for four nights a week and 20 grand a week. That poor lady,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Ford has previously hinted Wilkinson’s exit from The Project could be part of a wider “last-ditch attempt to rebrand the show”, and said there may be more resignations in the coming weeks.
Wilkinson’s exit follows Carrie Bickmore’s decision to leave the program.
Bickmore, 41, took to Instagram in early October to share how her time on Network 10’s news and current affairs program was coming to a close.
“After 13 years at The Project I have made the tough decision to finish up hosting the show at the end of the year,” she said.
“It’s been the hardest decision of my professional life, but it’s time for a new challenge and my next chapter.
“I am going to miss my best mates on the desk and our wonderful viewers so much. The show has been a second home to me and I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone involved in it.”
Wilkinson’s co-host on The project Peter Helliar said she would be “forever part of the family”.
“It has been a joy to witness first-hand Lisa Wilkinson’s empathy and dedication up close. More than that, I treasure the friendship we have. Lisa cares so much about the people and stories she covers,” he tweeted.
“I’ve seen it up close in unguarded moments. Say what you like about Lisa, she cares!”
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