Home » Peter Stefanovic apologises to Keegan Payne after awkward interview question

Peter Stefanovic apologises to Keegan Payne after awkward interview question

Peter Stefanovic has issued an apology to Northern Territory teen Keegan Payne after controversy erupted over his interview on Sky News Australia.

The 19-year-old angler, from Katherine, made national headlines on Monday after hooking a barramundi worth $1 million as part of a comeptition.

Then during a live interview this week, questions turned to a dark chapter of the teenager’s past.

“There is a claim online that you stole a Polaris Ranger and Polaris quad that you and your friends stole and damaged from a business a few years back, first of all, is that true?” Stefanovic asked.

Mr Payne responded, “Yes”.

The teenager, seemingly remorseful, added he and his friends “weren’t thinking at the time”.

Viewers criticised Stefanovic for bringing up the teenager’s past in an interview inteded to be about celebrating his win, with some commenting it reinforced negative stereotypes about Indigenous teenagers.

Now, Sky News Australia has published an official apology for raising the matter during the interview.

“On Wednesday 1 May 2024, Sky News Australia broadcast a live interview of Keegan Payne by Peter Stefanovic on First Edition. The interview concerned Mr Payne’s win in the Northern Territory’s Million Dollar Fish Competition,” the apology read.

“During the interview Mr Stefanovic asked Mr Payne questions about claims he had been involved in the theft of a Polaris Ranger and Polaris Quad from his former employer in 2021.

“Mr Payne confirmed the claims and apologised to his former employer on-air. Mr Payne’s former employer subsequently told Sky News Australia that he did not proceed with police charges and had accepted Mr Payne’s apology.

“Sky News Australia and Peter Stefanovic apologise to Mr Payne and his family for raising these claims during the live interview about his million dollar win in the fishing competition.

“Mr Stefanovic has reached out to Mr Payne and his family directly to convey his apology.”

In a moving twist, Mr Payne’s old boss – Bob Cavanagh from Cav’s Mowing in the Northern Territory – revealed he had received a touching offer on Wednesday.

“Out of the blue this morning, his father rang me and said, ‘Keegan wants to repay you,’ and you could have knocked me down with a feather,” Mr Cavanagh told Daily Mail Australia.

“He said Keegan has always felt so terrible for what he did.”

Teenager’s incredible catch

The teen caught the 67cm barramundi which had been tagged as part of a nine-year-long Million Dollar Fish angling competition, in the Katherine River, 317km south of Darwin, while on a fishing trip with his family.

“This is crazy for us. We’re a big family. There’s eight of us. This is more money than we could ever ask for. This is just great,” Mr Payne said of the win on Tuesday.

“It means so much. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I’m happy, really happy.

“I can buy what I want, maybe help dad and mum out with the home loans.”

And Mr Payne landed the fish just in time with this season of the fishing competition ending at midnight Tuesday.