The Project hosts Waleed Aly and Sarah Harris have issued an on-air apology after a guest’s off-colour joke about Jesus on Tuesday night led to calls for the show to be cancelled.
Reuben Kaye, an award-winning comedian, singer and writer known for his “high camp and filthy humour”, was speaking about the hate he receives on social media over his sexuality when he made the X-rated comment.
“I love Jesus. I love any man who can get nailed for three days straight and come back for more,” he said.
While Sarah covered her mouth as she burst into laughter and Kate Langbroek quietly chuckled, long-time host Waleed looked stunned by the remark.
Speaking about the incident at the start of Wednesday night’s broadcast, Waleed apologised to viewers directly.
“During an interview last night, our guest told a joke which we know was deeply and needlessly offensive to many of you,” he said. “We want to acknowledge the particular offence and hurt that that caused our Muslim, but especially our Christian viewers. Obviously, I understand just how profound that offence was.”
Sarah then chimed in and said: “Live TV is unpredictable and when this happened in the last few moments of last night’s show, it genuinely took us all by surprise and there wasn’t a lot of time to react in any sort of considered way.”
Waleed ended the segment insisting that neither the show’s panellists nor producers were expecting a comment like that to be made, and they wouldn’t have broadcast it if they did.
“We acknowledge the offence that it caused but more than that, we’re sorry,” he said, to which Sarah added, “Very sorry”.
The Project’s social media accounts were flooded with negative comments following Reuben’s appearance on Tuesday night, with many calling the joke “disrespectful” and demanding that the show be taken off the air.
“This show needs to be cancelled, period,” one person wrote, while another added, “Lowest of lows… #boycotttheproject”.
“I’m very disappointed and will be switching off this show forever,” a third shared. “The number one rule in comedy if you want to have a long career is to keep religion and politics out of it.”
“This isn’t television, this is absolute rubbish,” someone else said, followed by a different user who asked, “Since when was disrespecting other religious views cool?”.
However, there were plenty of people who appreciated Rueben’s humour and said they “adore” him.
“Reuben is an ICON! What a pleasure to see you on our screens!” one fan commented.
“Best guest ever and ever so truthful!” another shared, while someone else tweeted: “It’s FUNNY. Grow up.”
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