Lisa Wilkinson has left The Project after five years, citing the “targeted toxicity” of sections of the media she has been exposed 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 of certain 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 God I’ve tried. I’ve given this job everything I’ve got.”
Paramount Australia chief content officer 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 following a widely publicized row with Channel Nine over the level of her pay compared to her co-host, Karl Stefanovic.
Wilkinson said on Sunday that she would not be leaving Ten.
“I’ve had a ball,” she said. “But for me right now it’s time for a change. To be clear. I’m not leaving 10 and we’re looking at some very exciting work ideas going forward.”
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 detailed her contract negotiations with Nine.
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 non-consensual sexual intercourse.
Wilkinson won the Logie for Most Outstanding News Coverage or Public Affairs Report for his work on the Higgins story.
But after Wilkinson’s acceptance speech, ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucy McCallum decided “regretfully and with gritted teeth” to leave the trial over Wilkinson’s comments and others from broadcasters Amanda Keller and Brendan Jones.
The trial eventually took place later in the year, but the jury was dismissed last month after a juror was found to have brought unauthorized material into the jury room.
Lehrmann will face a new trial in February.