The Project: Lisa Wilkinson reacts to Daily Mail’s cocktail and dinner photos

Lisa Wilkinson has broken her silence on The Project about photos of her eating and drinking alone after her co-host awkwardly raised the issue.

Lisa Wilkinson has taken a dig at a news website that published “creepy” photos of her sipping on a margarita and having a meal by herself after the issue was awkwardly raised by a panellist on The Project.

It was the star’s first direct comments on the show she co-hosts about the problematic paparazzi run-in.

Last Thursday, the Daily Mail published an “exclusive” article going into detail about Wilkinson’s dinner for one.

“Lisa Wilkinson sips on a margarita as she dines alone at a restaurant in Melbourne following The Project’s recent panellist shake-up,” the article’s headline read.

It was accompanied by a series of candid snaps of Wilkinson enjoying her meal, repeatedly stressing the fact she was dining “alone” and giving a detailed description of her outfit and her every move during the outing.

On social media, Wilkinson described the man behind the camera as “menacing” and that the encounter left her feeling “totally violated”.

Her Project co-hosts Tommy Little and Jan Fran referenced the incident on Sunday’s show but an amused Wilkinson swiftly moved on to other matters.

Lone bar stool for lonely women’

However, on Tuesday’s program the subject was raised again, this time by panellist Peter Helliar.

This week the show is being broadcast from Western Australia with Wilkinson reporting from Broome where she had been finding out about the bush tucker available in mudflats and how pearls are made.

As she wrapped up her report from the iconic Cable Beach, complete with a background of Broome’s famous camels, Helliar chimed in.

“I think you’re there by yourself. You might want to go grab a margarita,” he said.

The nervous laughter of The Project crew members was clearly audible.

“Yeah, I will. I definitely will,” said Wilkinson, smiling.

“There’s a lone bar stool in the corner for all the lonely women who eat and drink all by themselves.

“So it’s got my name written all over it, Pete.”

On the weekend Wilkinson took to Instagram to call out the article and snaps.

“Here’s to women everywhere being able to happily – and safely – take themselves out to dinner after a long day to do some work, plough through a few dozen emails, text friends, have a cheeky cocktail, eat broccoli (because, hey, greens!), catch up on some reading, wear clothes, tuck their hair behind one ear, and place a white napkin on their lap in peace … without worrying about being shamed or judged or dissected or made to feel totally violated by some old creepy guy secretly taking pictures designed to make you look sad and lonely,” she wrote.

Wilkinson added that while she was aware of an “incredibly menacing guy” roaming around staring at her, she never saw a camera.

“I was so concerned I waited an hour, working, until I thought he had left the area. Horrifying that a news org[anisation] employs people like this.”

In response, her female journalistic peers were horrified, as were other Twitter contributors.

ABC investigative reporter Louise Milligan wrote: “Unbelievably creepy. For zero journalistic purpose. The detail in it is what made me feel queasy. Sorry you have to deal with this. Hold your head high.”

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