Journalist Karl Stefanovic has ripped into The Daily Mail after an article they wrote about him insinuated he was cheating on his girlfriend with a co-worker - but the British tabloid has labelled his grievances "bizarre".
The Daily Mail, a news site that deals primarily in celebrity gossip, has been covering the award-winning journalist's divorce and subsequent romance heavily over the last few months, but the Stefanovic made it clear he felt they'd crossed a line with their latest report.
Speaking on Today, the weekday breakfast show he hosts, Stefanovic said the article was the latest in a "long, despicable track record" of Daily Mail pieces that are "denigrating women, ridiculing women and objectifying women".
"The headline last night? 'Karl Stefanovic checks into humble caravan park with a colleague and 12 cans of pre-mixed rum, but girlfriend is nowhere to be seen'. The Inference? I'm a drunk," he said.
"The real hurt here though is for my colleague, a young female colleague, [after] the sleazy suggestion we are checking in somewhere and that I'm 'settling in for a long night'. Fact: this was work. We were filming a story about our struggling prawn farmers; they deserve a rum or two.
"The producer pictured on the website is a committed, talented, hardworking and totally professional young woman - and not deserving of this cheap, lazy, sexist online slur."
Stefanovic went on to call The Daily Mail "a news website which seeks to profit from criticising and publicly humiliating people". He added that Today producer Lauren Tomasi, who was the one pictured with him, had "spent the past few hours in tears" as a result of the article.
"Go hard on me, make up your stories, publish your lies and send out the paps. But if you have any care whatever for the women of Australia, do not slur the reputations of others in your eagerness to throw mud at me," he said, addressing them directly.
He also called on Australia to stop reading The Daily Mail - the world's largest news website, with 199.4 million visitors every month - saying, "if you agree with me, the best thing that you can do is never go to that website".
The Daily Mail has since responded with an article branding his comments "a bizarre tirade", and failed to mention that they were the media outlet responsible for the original article that attracted his ire.
The article also quoted a number of social media users who had accused Stefanovic of hypocrisy, but ignored the scores of comments that applauded him for making the remarks.
The Daily Mail also discretely removed the words "but his girlfriend is nowhere to be seen" from the headline of their initial article.