Brothers Karl and Peter Stefanovic have issued a public apology to their fellow Channel Nine colleagues, as New Idea prepares to publish the details of an embarrassing phone call which was recorded in secret by an Uber driver.
The driver in question recorded Karl as he talked to his brother on speakerphone, in a conversation that reportedly touched on new Today co-host Georgie Gardner, as well as Richard Wilkins and various other Nine presenters and executives.
It would not be a good look to publish direct quotes from a conversation recorded in such fashion, but conveniently enough, the Uber driver in question has been able to “recall” juicy details of the incident, and New Idea has paid somewhere in the vicinity of $50k for the story.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Karl Stefanovic said:
“We talk a hundred times a day and hardly ever about work … But we did, and the conversation was recorded. And we are sorry. I was angry with myself at first that I could be so stupid.”
Peter, who hosts Today Weekend, added:
“I did a silly thing and feel awful for any embarrassment I’ve brought to my (Channel 9) colleagues, who I deeply respect.”
The details of the conversation remain unknown, but it is understood that the story could further inflame rumoured tension between Karl and Georgie Gardner, who recently replaced long-running Today co-host Lisa Wilkinson.
A representative for Nine also commented on the upcoming publication, saying “clearly it was school behaviour between brothers but that’s no excuse.”
Arguably, there is also no excuse for recording your passenger’s private conversation in an Uber then trying to sell it to the media, although it is unknown whether the driver in question has faced any sanctions from the ride-sharing company.
UPDATE: Entertainment reporter Peter Ford says the “official line” is that the chat was not recorded, so no laws were broken.