Samantha Armytage has hit back at a journalist who labelled her a "mindless bimbo", calling the attack "base, vile and derogatory", and a betrayal of the feminist sisterhood.
The Sunrise co-host took aim at ABC senior journalist Virginia Haussegger on Monday, defending the breakfast show's widely-criticised segment with actor and UNHCR ambassador Kristin Davis on Thursday.
Haussegger penned a scathing column on Sunday, skewering Sunrise's "woefully empty interview" with Davis, calling Armytage the "dumb chicks ringleader" and her fellow female breakfast show hosts "daft", "ditzy" and "po-faced".
"What the hell is wrong with those daft women on commercial breakfast TV! Why are they winding up the ditzy dial? And why are they so dead keen to present themselves as mindless bimbos?" Haussegger wrote.
"Their nonsense nattering does a major disservice to feminism," she said.
Armytage fired back In her own editorial on Monday, accusing Haussegger of being a bully, and saying she would not tolerate attacks "in the name of feminism".
"The journalist who wrote this vitriolic piece took up valuable column space (which could have focused on the important issues of the day such as, maybe … refugees?) and used the most base, vile and derogatory terms to describe not only a fellow woman, but a woman in her own profession," Armytage wrote in news.com.au.
"Why is it that some of those who shout the loudest about feminism are the most unkind to other women?
"Whatever your interpretation, it does not provide a license to attack — personally and professionally — another woman,"Armytage said.
"To use petty barbs such as "bimbo", "dumb", "ditzy", "daft" to prove a point, does not make you a feminist. It makes you a bully," she said.
Calling the skit "a bit of fun", Armytage said she and her colleagues spent several minutes discussing refugees with Davis, who was in Australia to host a $200-per-head fundraiser lunch for UNHCR.
Armytage's response comes after Sunrise presenter Edwina Bartholomew tweeted her own disapproval of Haussegger's comments.
In a tweet linking to the editorial, Haussegger wrote: "Frankly I wish I never had cause to write this column. I take no joy in calling any woman a mindless bimbo."
"The sisterhood in action @virginia_hauss. You might be surprised to know even 'mindless bimbos' can be feminists," Bartholomew tweeted in response.
However Davis, at the centre of the spat, tweeted her support for Haussegger, who had also interviewed the actor last week.
"Thank you for your piece in @smh. I'm trying to tell these women's story," Davis tweeted with a photograph of the UNHCR pamphlet featuring the image of a female Congolese refugee.
On Thursday, Armytage's breakfast show rival, Today host Lisa Wilkinson tweeted her support for Davis after the Sunrise segment.
"Congratulations @KristinDavis on your wonderful work with @UNrefugees Next time ur in Oz, love to have u on @TheTodaySHow to talk about it," Wilkinson tweeted.
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