Woman mocked by TVNZ reporter reveals teeth knocked out by domestic violence

Jessica Sewell, who was mocked by a reporter during a segment on TVNZ's Breakfast, has shared a...
Jessica Sewell, who was mocked by a reporter during a segment on TVNZ's Breakfast, has shared a stark message to the presenter as she believes his apology wasn't sincere. Photo: Facebook
The Cairns woman who was mocked by a reporter during a segment on TVNZ's Breakfast says the missing teeth he made fun of were actually knocked out in a domestic violence incident.

TVNZ reporter Wilson Longhurst apologised on-air yesterday after making a comment on Breakfast about Jessica Sewell's appearance.

But the mother-of-three told the Herald she doesn't believe the apology was sincere, saying she hasn't heard from him directly and only learnt of "nasty" comments after being contacted by family in New Zealand.

"The reporter clearly couldn't care about the behaviour or comments he made," she said, adding that she could tell by the look on his face when he made his apology.

Longhurst was presenting a story about how Sewell's ex-boyfriend took revenge when she dumped him. The boyfriend created a Star Wars-themed prank, and advertised a pretend Chewbacca roaring contest with a $1000 prize, printing his ex's phone number on the flyer.

At the end he said: "What a prize Jessica is, with all her teeth and her hair."

Wilson Longhurst apologised for his comments about Jessica. Photo: TVNZ
Wilson Longhurst apologised for his comments about Jessica. Photo: TVNZ
The 29-year-old, who had blue hair and was missing some teeth, believed Longhurst needed to "grow up" and get more life experience.

She said her message to him was that beauty was only skin-deep.

"If he's so shallow of a human being to judge me from my looks and teeth than that's his problem," she said.

Sewell added that he can pay for her dentist bill to fix them if he likes.

Since the original Nine News story was shared, she has been flooded with negative comments about her looks on social media.

She criticised people for being prejudiced towards others before learning their back story, revealing that her teeth were knocked out in a domestic violence incident, not related to her former partner that played the Chewbacca prank.

"There are a lot of girls out there like me, who have had domestic violence so severely ... they have to keep a smile on their face and keep going for their kids," she said.

After Longhurst made the comments he got a stern warning from presenter John Campbell, who said: "This isn't a eugenics competition," and told Longhurst to "get out".

"I'll be having a little bit of a chat with Wilson later."

Longhurst later apologised on air for the comments, and said he regretted what he said.

Sitting on the "naughty step", he told viewers: "What I said wasn't funny, it was quite frankly something that just slipped out, but it was a misogynistic comment and I'm sorry," he said.

He added his comments "weren't good enough", and that he was "really disappointed" in himself. He directly apologised to viewers who had written in to the show with their feedback.

In a statement to media, TVNZ said: "Breakfast TV is a live environment and involves some sleep-deprived reporting. Wilson made a comment he immediately regretted and he wished to make an apology on air. Our producers agreed this was the right thing to do."

If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz

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