It’s an understatement to say that Karl Stefanovic has had an interesting 12 months.
Things have certainly changed for the Nine Network’s former golden boy of late. Now it seems the clean-cut charm and family man image that used to get him by are no longer cutting it.
And the infamous Channel Nine boys’ club isn’t helping him much with the public either.
After a marriage split that took considerable lustre off his image, and a subsequent high-profile romance with a younger woman, he is no longer seen by many as a relatable family man.
Then came the revelation that he’d said some less-than-complimentary things about some of his coworkers, with details of his ‘bitchy’ cab conversation with brother Peter exclusively revealed in this week’s New Idea.
He’s been struggling to put things right for a while now.
'I know...maybe there may be some women out there who are still angry with me but I've never tried to be anything other than myself,' he told Stella last June, in the wake of his marriage split.
'I have to hope that the audience, and particularly females if that is true, that one day they're OK and they come back and say: 'I'm giving him another go.'
But when details of Karl’s comments about co-workers Georgie Gardner and Richard Wilkins began to leak out, he was forced to be more apologetic.
‘I was angry with myself at first that I could be so stupid,’ he said in a statement. ‘Pete and I were guilty of having a spray after a Sunday BBQ.
‘We talk a hundred times a day and hardly ever about work. Mainly about his terrible golf.
‘But we did… And we are sorry.
‘For the record Georgie Gardner is killing it as well. She's the best thing to happen to the show in years. She's hungry, she's working hard and making the show better every day. I love working with her. Anyone says differently, they don't know.’
But the carefully constructed damage-control effort didn’t seem to have the desired effect.
Georgie called Karl ‘pathetic’ on air yesterday. Yes, she was ostensibly talking about his fear of sausage dogs, but a lot of people are apparently of the opinion she was talking about a lot more as well.
Karl’s close mate Richard Wilkins is said to be deeply hurt by what was said during the brothers’ conversation.
So, what can be done to change people’s minds about Karl? How about a sincere, face-to-face, on-air apology to those he’s hurt?
We all make terrible mistakes. Often, in the grip of tumultuous life changes we have little control over, we make a lot of mistakes, in quick and devastating succession.
Australians are forgiving, but we need to feel the sincerity. I’m sure that Karl is genuinely sorry, and it would be helpful if he made that clearer.
So, step up, Karl. And take a long hard look at yourself while you’re at it.