TV presenters Grant Denyer and Ben Fordham are facing backlash for sharing a same-sex kiss during an Australia Unites telethon fundraiser.

Grant Denyer and Ben Fordham participated in a live on-air stunt to raise $50,000 for flood victims on behalf of the Red Cross.

On Saturday (12 March) over $25,000,000 Australian dollars was raised for an Australia Unites telethon.

During the fundraiser, a $50,000 donation was promised from an unnamed “major Australian corporation” if Denyer and Fordham kissed on live TV.

Despite the successful appeal, the kiss between both straight men faced backlash for making “entertainment” of an LGBTQ+ moment.

“Whilst I commend 7/9/10 for doing this Telethon for flood victims. The government should do it,” Twitter user Chris McKay posted.

Author Alex Leslie, who identifies as gay, criticised the fundraising stunt as “sleazy” in a now-deleted tweet and questioned why two news producers must kiss to raise money for a charity.

Online user Nicole Mugford also condemned the TV kiss: “I’m uncomfortable about the way that men kissing men and people cross dressing is being encouraged as a joke for charity on the Australia Unites. Please don’t mock and joke about these things in the name of entertainment.”

Melissa Blackwood, who replied to Mugford’s comment, tweeted a similar criticism: “I feel you! I’m annoyed about Grant Denyer’s comment about the kiss being worth $5 like the LGBT community haven’t been fighting for rights for years.”

However, some users praised the event and its mission to support flood relief victims.

Did everyone else just see Ben Fordham and Grant Denyer have a big kiss for 50k for the Flood Appeal. You go guys!! Bring in that,” Suzanne Howard tweeted.

Fordham thanks viewers for supporting the Australia United telethon on Twitter: “Thanks to everyone who has supported the flood telethon #australiaunites and thanks ⁦@grantdenyer for the pash rash.” 

You can watch Ben Fordham and Grant Denye’s fundraiser efforts here or below.