He’s the polarising TV host who was famously dumped from the Today show last year after a string of controversies, and now Karl Stefanovic has caused a stir yet again.
The 44-year-old, who married Jasmine Yarbrough in December last year, appeared on 60 Minutes last night for a segment called ‘The Shark Whisperer’, where he spoke with experts about misconceptions surrounding the predators of the sea.
However, people were left fuming online, claiming the segment just exaggerated fear-mongering around sharks instead of dispelling it.
Karl started off the show by claiming that we’re “five times more likely to die taking a bath than we are being eaten by a shark,” and said that shark attacks are actually incredibly rare.
But just minutes later, in an interview with diving instructor Ocean Ramsey, Karl said: “This creature of the deep that kills so many people every year. How can you spin that PR?”
Ocean replied, saying: “There’s actually very few people that die from a shark-related incident. It’s less than 10 fatalities globally annually. Toasters and lightning kill more people.”
Karl was then seen swimming off the north coast of Hawaii with Galapagos sharks, without a cage or any protection.
“They move so quickly from the darkness down below into the light. Into your space in seconds. It’s terrifying speed,” he said.
They then played a montage of newsbreaks from around the world after people have been attacked by sharks, to reiterate that there have been dangerous encounters with sharks.
A biting reaction
People have since taken to their social media accounts to slam the segment and their portrayal of sharks as threatening creatures.
“Maybe you should also have a rethink about your language 60 Minutes instead of contributing to the fear narrative with words like ‘man-eater’. Shame on the person who posted this,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Why do you morons continue with this ridiculous fear-mongering? Sharks must be protected and have no interest in attacking humans,” another person said.
Another person said: “Seriously jumping the shark with #karlstefanovic tonight!”
Karl also wasn’t exempt from the fury online, with one person saying they were “so so disappointed with this story”.
“Karl you did nothing to help this story but contribute to fear-mongering. Interviewing Ocean Ramsey with forward thinking questions on how we manage cohabitation would have been better placed.”
Got a story tip or just want to get in touch? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or sign up to our daily newsletter here.