Death and rape threats": Sam Armytage opens up on career low point
Image: Channel 7
Sam Armytage has opened up about one of her most memorable moments as a co-host of Sunrise: the widely panned Sexy and the City skit featuring Kristin Davis that left viewers cringing in 2016.
Reflecting on the moment she was pushed by producers to a don a Carrie Bradshaw wig on live television, Sam said the swift fallout included “rape and death threats” that left her terrified in her own home.
At the time, Davis, who plays Charlotte in SATC, was in Sydney as an ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and looked visibly taken aback when Sam tossed her a script to re-enact a scene with Edwina Bartholomew as Samantha and Nat Barr as Miranda.
Muttering, “I don’t know if this is a great idea, frankly”, Davis later tweeted in response to a Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece which called the segment “gender-cringe TV at its worst”.
As a result, Sam was dropped as the MC for a UNCHR event.
Speaking on Chris Walker’s Brains Trust podcast this week, Sam opened up about the fallout of the failed comedy segment, revealing that she didn’t want to do the skit to begin with.
She began discussing her life in the spotlight as a Sunrise host, which she hosted opposite David Koch for eight years, before leaving the role in March.
In the interview, she said many days she’d find herself worrying about the day ahead from the moment she woke up.
"There were quite a few days in there where you’d wake up, and that split second when your eyes open and you think, ‘What giant sh*t storm is going to hit today?’”
Using Kristin Davis situation as an example, she went on to describe her confusion over being the one to bear the brunt of the backlash, despite the skit also involving Nat Barr and Edwina Bartholomew.
Calling the skit “dumb” she said, “Guess who got blamed for it? Me. I just sort of sat there and thought, why is all this stuff only happening to me?” she said, going on to explain how hesitant she was to go ahead in the first place.
“The day before that upstairs in the office when the producers were like ‘We’re gonna do this tomorrow,’ I just thought, ‘Really? That’s so lame.’"
“I’d have days where I was like….I’ve got a journalism degree, do I really have to do this stuff?’ But you do it because it's your job."
“It’s not the 7:30 report, I wasn’t under the illusion we had to be totally serious all the time. It but was the reaction to it that got me … it was very wearing, I had many moments where I was deeply upset and I had many, many times where I would call my mum in tears,” she explained.
When pressed for details on the extent of the backlash, Sam admitted it was “stuff you couldn’t even write”, including “death and rape threats”.
“It actually shocks me and saddens me that I became immune to that. Other people would be horrified whereas I had to go … ‘This is part of my life’.
“There were many times we had to have police outside my house, my house in the country was vandalised six times.
“You get to a point where you don’t feel safe (in your own home) which is part of the reason why I sold it in the end.
“(I was) living on my own with the dog and it was very, very unsafe at times. I’m not a Kardashian, I didn’t go into this to be famous … I’m a journalist by trade, so I just decided to step back and reset my life,” she concluded as the reason she resigned.
The 44-year-old left her role on the Channel 7 breakfast program in March after eight years at the helm, with Nat Barr taking on her role.