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O'Neill Speaks Out About Don Burke Encounter

"Crude and belittling"

O'Neill Speaks Out About Don Burke Encounter AOC

Swimmer Susie O'Neill says former Nine television host Don Burke made crude and belittling remarks during a visit to her Brisbane home ahead of the 2000 Sydney Olympic games.

The eight-time Olympic medal winner told Fairfax Media Burke was looking at a painting of a flower by her husband when he made a sexual remark about her body.

"It was crude and it was belittling," O'Neill said.

The man who hosted Burke's Backyard for almost 17 years until 2004 has this week been accused of sexually harassing and indecently assaulting at least three women who worked on his top rating TV gardening program in the 1980s and 1990s.

Burke has rejected the allegations, saying he's "deeply hurt and outraged" by the claims made by former employees who he believes hold a "grudge" against him.

"There is a lot of people that don't like me and they can't all be wrong. I guess this is the Harvey Weinstein thing and we've got a witch hunt," he told Nine's A Current Affair program on Monday night.

"I'm prepared to cop that I might have terrified a few people and that I shouldn't have done that ... Towards the end of Burke's Backyard I must have been a bear with a bloody sore head and I do apologise for it.

"I have looked in the mirror and there's a lot I don't like."

O'Neill told Fairfax she immediately reported the exchange with Burke to her then-manager Nick Cummins, who in turn called Nine management.

"She was intimidated by the crude sexual innuendo," Mr Cummins, now CEO of Cricket Tasmania, told Fairfax.