Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he was “in the zone” when he’s alleged to have been rude to a makeup artist and has chalked up her Facebook attack to a misunderstanding.
Freelance makeup artist Lily Fontana did Mr Rudd’s makeup before the second leaders’ debate in Brisbane on Wednesday and later said she’d never had a client treat her so badly.
Ms Fontana took to Facebook to compare her interactions with Mr Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
“One of them was absolutely lovely, engaged in genuine conversation with me, acknowledge(d) that I had a job to do and was very appreciative,” she said on her page, which is public.
“The other did the exact opposite!
“Oh boy, I have (n)ever had anyone treat me so badly whilst trying to do my job.
“Political opinions aside … from one human being to another … Mr Abbott, you win hands down.”
Fontana later removed the post from Facebook but not before it was shared more than 1200 times.
She said she didn’t expect so much attention: “What a lesson to learn. I’ve removed the post and regret making the comments I did.”
Mr Rudd downplayed the incident.
“I have no hard feelings in terms of the comments which this person has now withdrawn,” he told reporters in Torquay.
He said sometimes misunderstandings occur.
“You know something, when you’re preparing for a debate with two or three minutes to go and someone walks in and puts a bit of stuff on your face, you smile, you’re in the zone,” he said.
He joked he didn’t like having make up applied to his face at the best of times.
Mr Abbott said Ms Fontana – who he mistakenly called “Tilly” – did his makeup in a different room to Mr Rudd so he did not witness any rudeness.
“I thought she did a great job making my craggy face as presentable as possible, we had a great conversation,” he told reporters in Sydney.
Sky News, the official broadcaster of the debate, distanced itself from Ms Fontana’s comments.
“The individual is not a staff member and we don’t agree with them,” the broadcaster tweeted.
It’s not the first time Mr Rudd has come under fire for being rude to people behind the scenes.
In April 2009 he was criticised for reportedly making an RAAF flight attendant cry because his preferred meal was not available on a plane.
A month later he was accused of getting angry over a hairdryer in Afghanistan although he denied the incident.
And last year a video surfaced of Mr Rudd thumping a table, swearing and berating embassy staff as he tried to record a message.