Helen Kapalos claims she was asked by a former TV boss to change her surname to ‘Smith’ early in her career in a bid to tone down her Greek ethnicity
TV presenter Helen Kaplos has alleged that a former boss at Channel Nine once suggested she should change her surname to Smith, in a bid to tone down her Greek heritage.
The 49-year-old claims the incident happened early in her career and described the experience as ‘jarring’.
‘Early on in my career, I did have a news editor who wanted me to change my name from Kapalos to Smith,’ she said in an interview with The Herald Sun’s Sacked: Showbiz podcast:
Change: Former TV presenter Helen Kaplos has made a sensational claim that a former boss suggested she should change her surname to Smith, in a bid to tone down her Greek heritage
‘That was at Channel Nine, but I won’t mention who it was. It was really jarring to have that happen.’
Helen had previously spoken to her parents about changing her name if she were to marry or and have a family – but added that even if that was the case, she wanted to stay true to her Greek roots and keep her name throughout her life.
‘It’s a really important part of my cultural identity and that heritage is something I’m proud of,’ she continued. ‘I made a decision in my teenage years, that I’d always have my name.’
She added that after moving to Melbourne, her surname was ‘much more accepted’ because she could ‘identify with a Greek audience’.
Different: She went on to say that after moving to Melbourne, her surname was ‘much more accepted’ because she could ‘identify with a Greek audience’
Daily Mail Australia have contacted Channel Nine for further comment.
During her stint as a journalist and presenter, Helen worked with Channel Nine, Channel 10 and hosted Channel Seven’s Today Tonight.
This week she gave a scathing account of her infamous sacking from Channel Ten in 2012, calling the cull ‘undignified’ and ‘devastating’.
She said she she was blindsided when she was suddenly axed from her regular news slot after working at Ten for six years.
‘My news editor’s assistant actually grabbed me by the elbow and took me into this room. I thought, “This is a bit heavy handed”,’ Helen told the podcast.
Once in the meeting, Helen was informed by her news editor and HR manager that she wouldn’t be returning to screens again – not even to say goodbye to her loyal viewers.
‘It was quite devastating to be farewelled in that way’: Helen described her 2012 sacking from Channel 10 as ‘undignified’ and ‘heavy-handed’
‘I think what was disappointing for me was, it felt like a very undignified way to be treated after such hard work and loyal service,’ she lamented.
‘It was quite devastating to be farewelled in that way,’ Helen added.
Her axing, along with other presenters, was reportedly part of austerity measures introduced by Ten to improve ratings.
In February 2013, Helen moved to Channel Seven where she became the face of Today Tonight.
It was in that year when she suffered an on-air gaffe that would make television history.
During the infamous segment, the anchor was left fumbling for a minute and a half after being left without a script or an autocue.
The video went viral on YouTube and attracted more than 990,000 views. She quit her role at Seven in March 2015.
Gaffe: In 2013, the anchor was left fumbling for a minute and a half after being left without a script or an autocue while presenting Today Tonight on Seven