Well she didn't. And neither did Negus. It's been a few years since the incident, which has been forgotten by most people, except Yumi and George. I'll admit that despite having written a Blunty on it, I'd pretty much wiped all the files too.
To provide a bit of context, Ben Roberts-Smith, a VC winner in Afghanistan had been doing publicity when he got back. I doubt that was his choice, but it is the lot of VC winners. Some of the pieces he agreed to do involved some 'big shirtless Roberts'* shots, including one for Men's Health.
The producers of The Circle, a show on the Ten Network, mostly for ladies by ladies (I've been on, and will attest to this) scheduled a discussion about male body image and female perceptions of such off the back of Smith's 'exposure'. The ensuing discussion was all about masculinity and women's ideas of attractiveness, not specifically Ben Roberts-Smith.
And then everything turned to shit.
Negus said "nothing about poor old Ben" before going on to say "but that sort of bloke...what if they're not up to it in the sack?". His comments weren't about Ben Roberts-Smith personally, but about well-built blokes who might pay more attention to their own bodies than their partners. Unfortunately, George was speaking quickly, through his enormous moustache and other people were speaking over him. It's easy to miss his "nothing about poor old Ben," caveat, or ignore it and imagine that Negus had a red hot go.
Yumi's follow up to him, in all the babble and chatter – "Are you, George Negus, intimating he might be a dud root?" – can therefore be seen as a reasonable question directed at Negus, not a joke or a statement directed at Roberts-Smith. Negus denied he was intimating any such thing.
Didn't matter. The bomb went off.
I jumped in on a Tuesday (I think) to defend Yumi, because to my mind she was getting the worst of it and the only reason I could see for the unequal treatment was her race and her gender.
Some of you who've been hanging around here and at Blunty for a while might recall the sort of comments that followed. And if you can't, I'm sure you can imagine the savage derp.
One thing I didn't do though, was question the over arching narrative. Like everyone else I accepted the idea that they'd done something wrong, going so far as to state that they'd shamed and disgraced themselves by mocking Roberts-Smith.
But they didn't. The Press Council recently came to that conclusion too, and although I wasn't a party to that hearing, or whatever it's called – in fact I didnt even know about it – when Yumi's redoubtable hubby drew my attention to it, I didn't see any option but to add my apology to the regrets piled up at their feet by Fairfax. (No ideas what News Corpse did, or if they were even part of the complaint.)
I swapped a few emails, sending my apolz, which I'm happy to add here too. I should have just gone with my gut and jumped in to start swinging without qualification on everyone who was having a go at them. I should have paid attention. Reviewed the tape. Applied the vaunted skepticism for which journalists are supopsedly paid. But I didn't. I accepted the established framing of the story, and in doing so, repeated exactly the same fucking mistake that everyone else did.
The only way to avoid these sorts of egregious fuck ups, which are terribly painful to the people on the receiving end, is either to pay attention in the first place, and if you're too fucking dumb or lazy to do that, to apologise profusely.
Which I now do.
Sorry Yumi. Sorry George.
*A Simpsons reference, which probably I alone get.