Pressure grows to cancel The Project as Sarah Harris is slammed for ‘hypocritical’ apology

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A high-profile Nine Network star has stuck the boot into The Project as viewers call for the Ten show to be axed for airing a lewd joke about the crucifixion of Jesus.

The left-leaning current affairs program is under fire after gay comedian and cabaret performer Reuben Kaye joked on Tuesday’s show he admired Jesus Christ because ‘I love any man who can get nailed for three days straight and come back for more’.

Co-host Sarah Harris laughed at the joke, which went to air uncensored during the live broadcast, but her Muslim colleague Waleed Aly looked shocked.

The backlash from Muslims and Christians was swift and brutal, forcing the two presenters to issue a grovelling on-air apology on Wednesday.

But this apology didn’t go down well with Omar Slaimankhel, who last year became the biggest winner in the history of The Block with his mate Ozman ‘Oz’ Abu Malik.

Pressure grows to cancel The Project as Sarah Harris is slammed for ‘hypocritical’ apology

A high-profile Nine Network star has stuck the boot into The Project as viewers call for the Ten show to be axed for airing a lewd joke about the crucifixion of Jesus. The news program is under fire after gay comedian Reuben Kaye (left) joked on Tuesday he admired Jesus Christ because ‘I love any man who can get nailed for three days straight and come back for more’

The backlash from Muslims and Christians was swift and brutal, forcing co-anchors Waleed Aly (left) and Sarah Harris (right) to issue a grovelling on-air apology on Wednesday

The backlash from Muslims and Christians was swift and brutal, forcing co-anchors Waleed Aly (left) and Sarah Harris (right) to issue a grovelling on-air apology on Wednesday

Slaimankhel accused Harris of hypocrisy for laughing at the off-colour joke only to apologise for it 24 hours later when she realised some viewers found it offensive.

He posted a screenshot on Instagram of the pair’s stony-faced apology, and wrote: ‘She was pissing herself laughing and now wants to apologise.’

Slaimankhel also called The Project ‘trash TV’ for giving a platform to an anti-religious comedian like Kaye.

Meanwhile, Aly and Harris’ on-air apology seems to have done little to stem the tide of criticism from members of the Christian and Muslim communities – who are already planning protests at Channel 10’s headquarters.

The show’s social media posts are being spammed with the hashtags #CancelTheProject and #BoycottTheProject in what is seemingly an organised effort.

Slaimankhel accused Harris of hypocrisy for laughing at the off-colour joke only to apologise for it 24 hours later when she realised some viewers found it offensive

He also called The Project 'trash TV' for giving a platform to an anti-religious comedian like Kaye

Slaimankhel accused Harris of hypocrisy for laughing at the off-colour joke only to apologise for it 24 hours later when she realised some viewers found it offensive (left). He also called The Project ‘trash TV’ for giving a platform to an anti-religious comedian like Kaye (right)

The show's social media posts are being spammed with the hashtags #CancelTheProject and #BoycottTheProject in what is seemingly an organised effort

The show’s social media posts are being spammed with the hashtags #CancelTheProject and #BoycottTheProject in what is seemingly an organised effort

Addressing the inappropriate joke on Wednesday, Aly began: ‘During an interview last night, our guest told a joke which we know was deeply and needlessly offensive to many of you.

‘We want to acknowledge the particular offense that caused our Muslim viewers but especially our Christian viewers. 

‘Obviously I understand just how profound that offence was.’

Harris, who had burst out laughing after the joke, also joined the grovelling apology. 

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‘Live TV is unpredictable and when this happened in the last few moments of last night’s show, it took us all by surprise, there wasn’t a lot of time to react in any sort of considered way,’ she said.

Aly insisted it took the program’s producers and panel by surprise. 

‘It’s fair to say we weren’t expecting a comment like that to be made,’ he said.

‘We wouldn’t normally broadcast a comment like that. We acknowledge the offense it caused and more than that we’re sorry.’

Harris (left), who had burst out laughing after the joke, backpedalled on Wednesday by saying, 'It took us all by surprise, there wasn't a lot of time to react in any sort of considered way'

Harris (left), who had burst out laughing after the joke, backpedalled on Wednesday by saying, ‘It took us all by surprise, there wasn’t a lot of time to react in any sort of considered way’

The joke was met with major backlash on social media.

‘What a disgusting joke about Jesus, and The Project team just giggled and did not say anything. So offended by your inaction,’ one viewer wrote.

Another said: ‘Actually a filthy joke about Jesus. I’m all for being who you wanna be, but that’s too far.’

Poll

Did the joke go too far?

  • Yes – religion should be off limits 1244 votes
  • No – it’s just a joke 373 votes

A third said: ‘Interesting to see Waleed’s reaction to that joke! He knew it was inappropriate! Project is so desperate these days!’ 

But others thought the lewd gag was hilarious.

One person said: ‘I can’t believe Rueben Kaye just said that on national, prime-time television. What an icon!’

Other positive comments included, ‘I nearly pissed myself,’ and, ‘That was gold, the best thing on The Project in months!’

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Kaye is known for his crude humour which he combines with singing and all-around showmanship in his comedy shows.

He is embarking on a national tour set to feature an array of jokes centered around touchy subjects sexuality and racism.

‘I want to poke the bear,’ he said. ‘I’m so thickly spread around this country that I might as well be systemic racism.’

Kaye (pictured in Edinburgh, Scotland, on August 3, 2022) is known for his crude humour which he combines with singing and all-around showmanship in his comedy shows

Kaye (pictured in Edinburgh, Scotland, on August 3, 2022) is known for his crude humour which he combines with singing and all-around showmanship in his comedy shows 

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