'Complete lie': Lisa Wilkinson hits back at memoir backlash

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Lisa Wilkinson has hit back at the backlash she's received over her memoir It Wasn't Meant To Be Like This, saying there are "complete lies" out there about her fight for equal pay when she worked on the Today Show.

The 61-year-old's book was released today, but there have been numerous headlines about it after excerpts were released to the media, including stories of her departure from the Today show.

Lisa Wilkinson has hit back over the backlash she's received for her new tell-all book that details her exit from Nine. Photo: Getty
Lisa Wilkinson has hit back over the backlash she's received for her new tell-all book that details her exit from Nine. Photo: Getty

During an interview with ABC's Radio National host Fran Kelly, Lisa slammed the headlines that made it appear as though she was "lying" in the book about leaving Nine.

Lisa has always said she left the network because the salary she was offered to re-sign was much less than her co-star's, Karl Stefanovic, and she had hoped to close the "gender pay gap".

It was claimed in 2017 that Lisa could have enjoyed a $700,000 pay increase with her pay shooting up from $1.1 million to $1.8 million.

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Nine Network's former CEO, Hugh Marks, told The Daily Telegraph at the time that Lisa was offered a $1.8 million salary package, but wanted $2.3 million, which would have taken her over Karl's salary of $2 million.

"I didn’t ask for salary parity, ever. I asked for a fairer share of the spoils that were coming to a show that Karl and I had taken to number one," she told Fran.

"I found out the salary Karl was on from two separate sources … and the gender pay gap was off the charts. The $2.3 million is a complete lie and has been constantly repeated – it is a complete lie."

Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson
Karl Stefanovic and Lisa were co-hosts for ten years before she left Nine. Photo: Getty

The presenter added that while she hadn't wanted to go into the specifics of the figures in the book, she wanted to set the record straight, "That whole narrative was put out there to make me look greedy and like I’d risen above my station, but it was a narrative that I decided at the time not to get involved in."

"Discussions like that are pretty unseemly, they’re pretty awful, and I’m the very first person to admit that when you do breakfast TV, you are paid a ridiculous salary.

"But what was even more ridiculous was the size of the gender pay gap I had been experiencing for many, many years."

When asked how big the gap was, she responded, "Well I won’t say specifically, but we’re talking in the order of three times. And you know, there’s been all of these stories as well about how the person I was sitting next to (Karl) was doing a whole lot more – well he got that opportunity and I didn’t."

The former Nine CEO claimed at the time Lisa's numerous commercial agreements outside of Nine made things difficult for them.

"The reason we walked away from Lisa is because we are not able to secure those [other] rights with her," he said.

"She has a number of commercial rights with other parties. Her arrangement with the Huffington Post restricts our ability to engage with her digitally – we are ­restricted from engaging with her also on social media.

"I hate the fact we have to compare her with Karl, but with him we have all those rights. With Lisa we do not."

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