Lisa Wilkinson has quit The Project after five years, citing the toll of the “targeted toxicity” of sections of the media she has been subjected to.
“The last six months have not been easy,” Wilkinson told viewers of the Channel Ten panel show on Sunday night. “And the relentless, targeted toxicity by some sections of the media has taken a toll not just on me but on people I love.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not above criticism. Far from it. I’m human, and I don’t always get it right. None of us do. But by god I’ve tried. I’ve given this job everything I have.”
The chief content officer for Paramount Australia, Beverley McGarvey, said Wilkinson had brought experience and professionalism, “as well as her signature warmth, compassion and integrity” to The Project and The Sunday Project.
Wilkinson joined Ten in 2017 after a widely publicised row with Channel Nine over the level of her salary compared with that of her Today co-host, Karl Stefanovic.
Wilkinson said on Sunday she wasn’t leaving Ten.
“I have had a ball,” she said. “But for me right now it’s time for a change. To be clear. I’m not leaving Ten and we’re looking at some very exciting work ideas ahead.”
Wilkinson has been targeted by some sections of the media since the release of her memoir, It Wasn’t Meant to Be Like This, in which she described her contract negotiations with Nine.
The media criticism intensified in June when the trial of the man accused of raping Brittany Higgins, Bruce Lehrmann, was delayed.
Lehrmann has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.
Wilkinson won the Logie for most outstanding news coverage or public affairs report for her work on the Higgins story.
But after Wilkinson’s acceptance speech the Australian Capital Territory supreme court chief justice, Lucy McCallum, ruled “regrettably and with gritted teeth” to vacate the trial due to Wilkinson’s comments and others by the broadcasters Amanda Keller and Brendan Jones.
The trial eventually took place later in the year but the jury was discharged last month after a juror was found to have brought unauthorised material into the jury room.
Lehrmann will face a retrial in February.