Two of the UK’s best-known broadcast journalists have been engaged in an extraordinary Twitter exchange which culminated in one saying the other “looked like a dick”.
Sky News’ Kay Burley and LBC’s James O’Brien sparred after the latter criticised John Humphrys’ interview with Theresa May on the BBC’s Today programme this morning.
Humphrys raised eyebrows when he answered “amen to that” in response to the PM saying she has appeared on his programme “more times than [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn”.
After the interview aired, O’Brien tweeted: “Humphrys’ continuing inability to understand the idiocy of Brexit has made this interview a complete irrelevance.
“He’s so obviously just another deluded, disappointed Brexiter. Heartbreaking to see [the Today programme] reduced to this.”
Burley leapt to Humphry’s defence telling O’Brien that criticising broadcast colleagues “is not cool”.
Openly criticising broadcast colleagues is not cool. https://t.co/f5bcJoePHs— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) December 6, 2018
O’Brien upped the ante by threatening to post footage of her criticising his interview with footballer Frank Lampard in 2009.
He also mentioned an email Burley allegedly sent him claiming she’d never met the sportsman despite once being married to his agent, Steve Kutner.
Egged on by Burley to “publish away big guy”, O’Brien did so before telling his rival: “You started it.”
He went on to accuse her of ringing the Daily Mirror the day after he appeared on her show asking them to remove a story they’d published on “how badly it went”.
His response drew a terse reply from Burley, who told O’Brien he’d been on her show and that she thought he had “looked like a dick” before dismissing his “passive aggressive threats”.
James,— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) December 6, 2018
1) Actually, I thought you looked like a dick and passive aggressive threats are sooooo dull
2) Criticising colleagues on Twitter because you couldn't cut it on Newsnight is not cool
3) I am not intimidated by not even the second best broadcaster on @lbc
Burley went on to admonish O’Brien telling him criticising colleagues on Twitter “because you couldn’t cut it on Newsnight is not cool” before adding she is “not intimidated not even by the second best broadcaster on LBC.”
O’Brien began occasionally guest presented Newsnight in August 2014 before quitting four years later.
He responded with a wilting comment, referring to “the madness in her eyes”, a nod to a tweet of a sad dog Burley sent in the wake of the Paris terror attacks in 2015.
Burley is no stranger to causing controversy with her unique style of interviewing.
Most recently, Burley was criticised after reducing singer Peter Andre to tears on Sky News by asking how he would feel if his ex-wife Katie Price’s new husband Alex Reid wanted to adopted Andre’s two children with Price.
Andre asked to cut the segment short as he struggled to hold back tears, declaring: “Nobody is going to take my kids away from me.”
However, after over 880 complaints about the way Burley interviewed Andre, regulating body Ofcom found the interview was not in breach of broadcasting guideline.
Burley was also forced to make an on-air apology earlier this year after mistaking a Roman Catholic symbol on US Vice President Joe Biden’s forehead for a “large bruise”.