Brittany Higgins said she regrets publicly calling out a political journalist who broke the story of her rape claims after she wrote a critical piece on Lisa Wilkinson.
Samantha Maiden published a story on Tuesday night claiming Wilkinson earned double the salary of her Today show co-host Karl Stefanovic for years at Nine.
But Ms Higgins, a former Liberal staffer who was allegedly raped by a colleague in Parliament House in March 2019, took issue with Ms Maiden’s report.
‘Pressing update in the midst of a sitting week from the political reporter of News,’ Ms Higgins tweeted sarcastically alongside a link to the story.
Ms Higgins has since claimed she ‘made a mistake’ and that she should have personally approached Ms Maiden – who she once described as her ‘hero’ – rather than call her out on Twitter.
‘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.’
Brittany Higgins said she regrets publicly calling out a political journalist who broke the story of her rape claims after she wrote a piece on Lisa Wilkinson
Samantha Maiden wrote a story claiming Stefanovic earned half the salary co-host Lisa Wilkinson did for ‘years’ – drawing criticism from Ms Higgins
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford was quick to question why Ms Higgins appeared to be condemning Ms 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?’ Mr Ford asked.
‘Is there anything specifically you object to in the report? Or just that someone presented details Lisa didn’t?’
Ms Higgins hit back, writing: ‘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 David Sharaz in the days after her rape allegations were aired.
That investigation found no concrete evidence of any such behaviour, something Ms Higgins and Mr 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,’ Ms Higgins said of Ms Maiden.
‘The Kunkel Review – among other things – was a contributing factor in Brittany ending up in hospital,’ Mr Sharaz added on Twitter.
Lisa Wilkinson released a scathing excerpt from her new autobiography on Monday describing her relationship breakdown with Stefanovic in the final days of their time together on Today
Ms Higgins’ response to Maiden’s story supporting Stefanovic in Nine’s gender pay gap scandal
The fiery Twitter exchange comes amid headlines about Wilkinson’s autobiography ‘It Wasn’t Meant To Be’.
The host of The Project released a scathing excerpt from the memoir on Monday describing her relationship breakdown with Stefanovic in the final days of their time together on Today after she demanded equal pay with her male colleague.
She alleged Stefanovic had proposed in August 2015 they join forces to renegotiate their Nine contracts.
But she claims he ended up ditching this idea and instead played rival networks Nine and Seven off against each other in order to secure a better deal for himself.
‘Weeks later… the media became awash with stories that Stefanovic was restless at Today and looking for greener pastures – and more civilised working hours – at Channel Seven,’ she wrote.
Stefanovic was soon at the centre of a bidding war between Nine and Seven that resulted in him re-signing a multimillion-dollar five-year deal with Nine.
Wilkinson’s deal was worth significantly less, and was only for two years.
‘There was no doubt about it: Karl certainly knew the art of the deal,’ she wrote, adding that the resulting pay disparity between them ‘was so off the charts that no-one would have believed it’.
Ms Higgins took issue with Maiden’s story, questioning the timing and necessity of the piece before revealing she often disagreed with the journalist
Ms Higgins said she and Maiden had ‘a major difference of opinions’ about a number of issues including the role of political reporters in Canberra
Ms Higgins replied to journalist Peter Ford about her relationship with Maiden, saying she didn’t have to agree with everything she wrote
Ms Maiden’s report about the gender wage gap ‘twist’ claimed Wilkinson initially signed on to be host of the Today on $700,000-per-year in 2006, while Stefanovic was on less than half of that for ‘half a decade’.
That figure drastically changed when he signed a lucrative $2million-per-year deal, more than double Wilkinson.
She was eventually offered a massive pay increase of $1.8million, a lower figure than Stefanovic – a figure she rejected.
Wilkinson claimed she was fired via phone call while at her local Woolworths, with her former friend going quiet in their final days working together.
Wilkinson left Channel Nine’s Today show back in October 2017 after a reported gender pay gap dispute.
The Nine Network were ‘unable to meet her expectations’ after she demanded equal pay with co-host Stefanovic.
Ms Higgins claimed there was ‘backgrounding against’ her partner David Sharaz in the days following her rape allegations going public
Maiden posted an article Tuesday revealing Stefanovic was paid half that of Wilkinson in the early years of his time as the face of Nine’s breakfast show