Rachel Smalley delivered a tearful apology on Thursday after calling New Zealand women fat. The Newstalk ZB presenter did damage control after she referred to her fellow Kiwi women as “heifers” and “a bunch of lardos” when she thought her microphone was off.
The news presenter made the comments while discussing a new study about morning-after pills on “Early Edition.” The Ministry of Health said that morning-after pills, which aim to prevent pregnancy 72 hours after unprotected sex, might not work on women weighing more than 70 kg.
The story also said that the average weight of Kiwi women is 72 kgs.
The breakfast show went on a commercial break, but Smalley’s microphone was still on, allowing listeners to hear her make the disparaging comments.
“The average woman is 72 kg?” Smalley, who is considered slim, was heard saying. “Heifers! Considering the average height is, what, 5’6’? Lardos, bunch of lardos.”
The next day, a tearful Smalley issued an apology at the end of her breakfast show, claiming that her own comments don’t represent her opinion.
“I made a flippant comment yesterday which upset and hurt a lot of people. It went on air in an environment where it was out of context and was hurtful,” she said, her voice cracking.
“It was stupid; it was judgemental, and offensive. It was not made as a statement of fact and it was in no way representative of any opinion I have ever held, ever. And I’m sorry, I truly am.”
She continued, “My role as a journalist has always been to inform and not to offend. Yesterday, I crossed that line. I’m so very sorry that I said what I did and I’m very sorry for the hurt that I caused and the many people that I let down, not least myself, my friends, and my family.”
In February, Smalley explained why she left “Firstline” and “The Nation” to join rival morning show “Early Edition.”
“I didn’t feel that there was any desire to invest in women in senior primetime roles and I knew I couldn’t keep doing those hours. So I was at a real crossroads. I was frustrated,” she told the New Zealand Herald.