Despite wearing a wetsuit and swimming with sharks in the program, viewers were annoyed at the messaging behind the show's promotion, which they said promoted the demonisation of the creatures.
While the 60 Minutes special was sympathetic to the plight of sharks, and attempted to dispel the “irrational fear” many people have about sharks, much of the controversy centred around a series of tweets the program published beforehand to promote the segment.
The language used in the tweets was particularly frustrating for conservationists, with the use of "maneater" and "culling" causing concern.
In one tweet published on October 16, 60 Minutes posted: “The ultimate summer debate: Should sharks be protected or culled? SUNDAY on #60Mins: The brave shark attack victim and inspiring ocean crusader who say we need a radical rethink about how we live with the man-eaters.”
A number of Twitter users took to the social media platform to blast the program for seeming to encourage hysteria.
"Maybe you should also have a rethink about your language 60 Minutes instead of contributing to the fear narrative with words like "maneater". Shame on the person who posted this," one person tweeted.
"They don't come up on our shores, maybe we shouldn't go into thier [sic] waters..." said another.
“Why do you morons continue with this ridiculous fear mongering? Sharks must be protected and have no interest in attacking humans,” another posted.
While ex Today show host Karl hasn't addressed the criticism surrounding the shark segment, rumours are currently rife that after the axing of his show This Time Next Year, he may make a triumphant return to the Today show very soon.
There are big changes going on at Channel Nine and sources tell New Idea Karl is rumoured to be heading back to the hot seat on the morning show after pleading to get his old job back – but with a pay cut.
“Karl has agreed to take a massive pay cut to go back to Today. He is cap in hand and begging,” the source says.
According to the source, Karl will partner with 60Minutes host Allison Langdon and together the pair have been chosen to try and boost ratings.