Brittany Higgins’ boyfriend claims Karl Stefanovic was ‘rude’ to him


The boyfriend of Brittany Higgins, the former Liberal staffer who was allegedly raped by a colleague in Parliament House in March 2019, has joined the chorus of support for Lisa Wilkinson after several claims in her autobiography were challenged.

Former Today show host Wilkinson, 61, alleges in her book she was sacked by Channel Nine because she asked for pay parity with her male co-anchor Karl Stefanovic – a claim which has been disputed by industry insiders.

Journalist David Sharaz publicly sided with Wilkinson last week in a scathing tweet about his experience working with Stefanovic, 47, as an intern on the Today show.

Support: David Sharaz (right) – the boyfriend of Brittany Higgins (left), the former Liberal staffer who was allegedly raped by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019 – has joined the chorus of support for Lisa Wilkinson after multiple claims in her autobiography were disputed

Sharaz said he’d landed work experience at Nine’s Sydney headquarters when he was a 19-year-old journalism student at the University of Canberra, but was disheartened when Stefanovic was ‘rude’ to him.

He tweeted: ‘I remember as a teen at uni studying journalism I spend a s**tload on fuel to drive to the Today show set for work experience.

‘Karl Stefanovic rudely ignored me. Lisa Wilkinson gave me nothing but time, and then her email address. That story is all you need to know about the pair.’

Channel Nine declined to comment. 

Sharaz’s support isn’t surprising given that his partner Higgins went public about her alleged 2019 rape in an interview with Wilkinson on The Sunday Project in February.

The Channel 10 presenter has since become Higgins’ most vocal supporter in the media, even accompanying her at the Canberra Women’s March 4 Justice in March.

Her husband, journalist and author Peter FitzSimons, also reportedly helped Higgins broker a book deal worth $250,000 with Penguin Random House.

'Rude': Sharaz publicly sided with Wilkinson last week in a scathing tweet about his experience working with Stefanovic, 47, as an intern on the Today show

‘Rude’: Sharaz publicly sided with Wilkinson last week in a scathing tweet about his experience working with Stefanovic, 47, as an intern on the Today show

Sharaz's support isn't surprising given that Higgins (left) went public about her alleged 2019 rape in an interview with Wilkinson (right) on The Sunday Project in February. Wilkinson has since become Higgins' most vocal supporter in the media. Pictured together at the Canberra Women's March 4 Justice on March 15, 2021

Sharaz’s support isn’t surprising given that Higgins (left) went public about her alleged 2019 rape in an interview with Wilkinson (right) on The Sunday Project in February. Wilkinson has since become Higgins’ most vocal supporter in the media. Pictured together at the Canberra Women’s March 4 Justice on March 15, 2021

Higgins herself has also publicly supported Wilkinson after her book’s claims about the Today show’s gender pay gap were challenged.

She posted a snarky tweet last week in response to an article by News.com.au journalist Samantha Maiden pointing out that Wilkinson had in fact earned double Stefanovic’s salary for years when they first started working together.

It wasn’t until much later that the roles were reversed and Stefanovic secured himself a $2million-per-year contract that far exceeded his co-host’s $780,000 deal. 

‘Pressing update in the midst of a sitting week from the political reporter of News,’ Higgins tweeted sarcastically alongside a link to the story.

Her tweet turned heads because Maiden had been crucial in breaking her story about the alleged Parliament House rape, with News.com.au and The Sunday Project breaking the story simultaneously.

Higgins has since claimed she ‘made a mistake’ and that she should have personally approached Ms Maiden, whom she once described as her ‘hero’, rather than call her out on Twitter. 

Support: Higgins (pictured) has also publicly supported Wilkinson after her claims about the Today show's gender pay gap were challenged by reporters

Support: Higgins (pictured) has also publicly supported Wilkinson after her claims about the Today show’s gender pay gap were challenged by reporters 

Criticism: She posted a snarky tweet last week in response to an article by News.com.au journalist Samantha Maiden (pictured) pointing out that Wilkinson had in fact earned double Stefanovic's salary for years when they first started working together

Criticism: She posted a snarky tweet last week in response to an article by News.com.au journalist Samantha Maiden (pictured) pointing out that Wilkinson had in fact earned double Stefanovic’s salary for years when they first started working together 

Tweet: 'Pressing update in the midst of a sitting week from the political reporter of News,' Higgins tweeted sarcastically alongside a link to the story

Tweet: ‘Pressing update in the midst of a sitting week from the political reporter of News,’ Higgins tweeted sarcastically alongside a link to the story 

‘I stand by my opinion but in hindsight it’s something that I should have expressed to her (Maiden) personally and I can cop that,’ she told The Australian.

‘I was feeling a little impassioned but at the end of the day I have to delineate between the fact that I have a different profile, I can’t just comment freely on things in the same way that I would have before.’

Entertainment reporter Peter Ford was quick to question why Higgins appeared to be condemning Maiden – who was the first journalist to publish her rape claims – in the initial tweets.

‘Wasn’t Samantha [Maiden] your original champion in breaking your story? Then Lisa [Wilkinson] gave it TV exposure?’ Ford asked.

‘Is there anything specifically you object to in the report? Or just that someone presented details Lisa didn’t?’ 

Claims: Former Today show host Wilkinson (right) alleges in her book she was sacked by Channel Nine because she asked for pay parity with her male co-anchor Karl Stefanovic (left)

Claims: Former Today show host Wilkinson (right) alleges in her book she was sacked by Channel Nine because she asked for pay parity with her male co-anchor Karl Stefanovic (left)

Higgins replied: ‘Yes, Sam facilitated me in being able to speak publicly about my assault.

‘At the same time, we had a major difference of opinions about the role of journalists calling out bad behaviour particularly around the Kunkel Review.’

The Kunkel Review was an internal investigation carried out by the Prime Minister’s chief of John Kunkel into reports that members of Parliament were ‘backgrounding’ against her partner Sharaz in the days after her rape allegations were aired.  

That investigation found no concrete evidence of any such behaviour, something Higgins and Sharaz reject and believe political reporters failed in questioning. 

‘She did a brilliant job reporting my experience however that doesn’t require me to agree with everything she writes in perpetuity,’ Higgins said of Maiden. 

Politicking: Higgins previously claimed there was 'backgrounding against' her partner Sharaz in the days following her rape allegations going public

Politicking: Higgins previously claimed there was ‘backgrounding against’ her partner Sharaz in the days following her rape allegations going public

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk