Carrie Bickmore: ‘Honestly, it was completely unintentional’
THE PROJECT host Carrie Bickmore has fought back tears, telling viewers: "I have been absolutely gutted" over backlash she received for promoting her beanie appeal on Monday night's show.
Bickmore's voice quivered at the start of tonight's show as she dealt with the barrage of criticism she received.
Last night she and her co-hosts spruiked a new range of beanies that her charity, Beanies 4 Brain Cancer, had just released.
The Gold Logie winner has been a supporter of research into brain cancer since her husband Greg died of the disease in 2010. But before The Project had gone off air, social media was flooded with posts - some of them scathing - of the fact the promotion clashed with a near identical one being run over on rival network Channel 7.
Many thought Bickmore's appeal could have been launched on a different day when it didn't clash with AFL great Neale Daniher's annual Big Freeze at the MCG, where bright blue beanies were sold to support research into motor neuron disease.
"I also just wanted to say a few people have been asking why we launched our campaign on the same day as Neale Daniher's Big Freeze at the G. Honestly, it was completely unintentional," Bickmore said.
"We were due to launch our beanies a couple of weeks ago but they didn't arrive in time so we had to push it back a few weeks and in the business of making it all happen, and keeping our supporters happy, we didn't take note of the fact the new date then clashed with Neale's Freeze at the G. We just wanted to finally get the beanies out to everyone and of course now I wish I had waited another few days."
Bickmore, who is understood to have been devastated about the backlash for much of the day, she spoke to Daniher about the controversy.
"I spoke to Neale today, they had an incredibly successful campaign yesterday which is great news. We both pour our heart and souls into these campaigns and I have been absolutely gutted that anyone would think I would try and derail someone else's lifesaving work.
"I just wouldn't. Is doesn't benefit us in any way to do that. I am just bummed that this is what is being talked about."
Just before she explained how the double-up occurred, The Project viewers heard about the overwhelming demand for the beanies. Adult beanies had already been sold out and there were a few kids ones left.
More had been ordered because so everyone who wanted one would get one, although they might have a two month wait until they arrived.
"Today we should be celebrating the fact that Australia is an incredibly generous country with the most wonderful souls who want to see an end to all forms of brain disease as much as we do. We are all in this together. Thank you everyone for your generosity. Thanks for all your support to both foundations."
The Big Freeze beanies also sold out, with Bickmore praising Daniher as a "great support personally and publicly".
Bickmore lost her husband Greg to brain cancer in 2010. The pair married in December, 2005, five years after his diagnosis. She introduced her Beanies 4 Brain Cancer initiative during her Logies acceptance speech in 2015.