A single mother of three children who was mocked by a reporter on national television for her teeth has launched a fundraiser asking for help to repair them.
Jessica Sewell, 29, featured in a New Zealand TV segment this week about her ex-boyfriend giving out her phone number for a fake ‘Chewbacca roar contest’ in Cairns, Queensland.
When the segment about the bizarre prank aired on TVNZ, reporter Wilson Longhurst made harsh comments about her ‘teeth and her hair’ on live TV.
Following backlash over the comments Ms Sewell launched a GoFundMe page explaining that as a struggling single mother she could not afford the dental work.
Ms Sewell previously told Daily Mail Australia her teeth were knocked out during a domestic violence incident.
‘I had a bad relationship for nine years and had two kids with this guy and he knocked out my four front teeth … I went on TV and people had a massive problem with my looks because of my teeth.’ Ms Sewell said on her GoFundMe page.
‘So if you feel you would like to see me smile a real smile please give me a helping hand,’ she said.
Posting an update video on Wednesday afternoon to the fundraising page, Ms Sewell, showed the extent of the damage to her teeth.
‘I can not wait until these are all fixed I’m so nervous, excited and surprised all in one,’ Ms Sewell captioned the video.
‘Thank you all so much for this help you’re all amazing.’
Ms Sewell said she would put up pictures of her new teeth when she has enough donations to get the work done.
The fundraiser had received more than $4,600 on Wednesday afternoon, just 17 hours after being launched.
Ms Sewell originally appeared on television because her ex-boyfriend put up a poster with her phone number, urging people to call up and do an impression of the Star Wars wookie for a chance to win $100.
She revealed she had been inundated with phone calls.
Following the comments of reporter, Ms Wilson told Daily Mail Australia the extent of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her old boyfriend.
‘Me and my ex-partner used to get into a lot of fights… It would get to the point where he would either headbutt me, hold me down to the ground, get quite physical… If we were in the car he would elbow me,’ she said.
The abusive partner is not the same who pulled the ‘Chewbacca’ prank.
The mother-of-three children, one of whom has autism, said she has stayed positive and revealed her appearance is the last thing on her mind.
‘He was a hardcore bad person, but I’m lucky I got away. I’ve got no choice but to put my big girl pants on and become tough,’ she said.
Sewell said she is staying strong for her children after the recent media attention and the ‘shallow’ comments made by Longhurst.
‘I was just trying to let women know as dark and as harsh as men are to you, you can still smile through it,’ she said.
‘Beauty is only skin deep.’
The young mum said she hasn’t had an opportunity to get her teeth fixed because it wasn’t a priority while she’s raising three young children.
In a cheeky dig at Longhurst, she suggested she would be happy to get the work done if he paid for it.
Not only has she had to endure the unprovoked attack from the reporter, she’s also copping abuse from trolls online.
The TVNZ journalist made the hurtful gaffe while presenting the story on the station’s Breakfast show on Monday.
‘If there’s anyone out there that can do the real Chewbacca sound, I might marry you,’ Jessica said in the story.
This prompted Mr Longhurst to rudely remark: ‘What a prize Jessica is, with all her teeth and her hair.’
Breakfast co-host John Campbell immediately called out Mr Longhurst on live TV.
‘This isn’t a eugenics competition,’ Mr Campbell said, before telling Mr Longhurst to ‘get out’.
‘I’ll be having a little bit of a chat with Wilson (Longhurst) later.’
Shortly after, Mr Longhurst sat on the ‘naughty chair because I want to apologise to the woman in the story, Jessica’.
‘What I said wasn’t funny, it was quite frankly something that just slipped out. But it was a misogynistic comment and I am sorry,’ Mr Longhurst said.
‘I’m going to take a good, long hard look at myself once we get off air this morning because it just wasn’t good enough and I’m really disappointed in myself and I know a lot of you aren’t happy with what I said.’