The Kyle & Jackie O Show‘s Intern Pete, who currently wears the mantle of Australia‘s most hated man, has spoken out about his actions at Steve Smith‘s press conference yesterday, saying he never intended to make light of the disgraced cricketer’s personal struggles.

The KIIS FM producer, real name Pete Deppeler, caused an stir when he addressed a tearful Smith, telling him that his cheating scandal was nothing compared with the behaviour of Married At First Sight couple Davina and Dean.

Social media and regular media turned on Deppeler as quickly and decisively as they turned on the Aussie cricket team a week before, with commentators calling for his sacking or resignation, and expressing generalised outrage at him for pulling such a stunt at a somber occasion.

Intern Pete has since spoken to News Corp, claiming that he had no idea Smith would even be taking questions upon arrival at the airport, and that he merely intended to inject “a moment of light and warmth” into a serious situation. He explained:

“As everyone watching at home saw, the solemnness of the moment was extraordinary … To many, it held a lot more intensity than one would expect for a sporting incident. Steve was so upset which surprised everyone in the room and I just wanted to let him know that it truly wasn’t the end of the world.”

“It wasn’t my intention to make light of his personal situation, but to show him that the millions of Australians who aren’t obsessed with cricket empathise with him. But timing is everything and, on reflection, it wasn’t the best time to ask that.”

He went on to say that he has “received a lot of support” from non-fans of cricket, “as they can see the level of social media trolling that’s been directed at me which, ironically, had all previously been directed at the three cricket players since it was revealed they’d cheated.”

Kyle and Jackie O themselves have yet to comment on the situation.

Source: News Corp
Image: Getty Images / Brook Mitchell