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A former panellist on The Project has sensationally claimed a guest’s controversial Jesus joke was ‘script-approved’ by the show’s producers – despite the hosts saying it was a ‘live TV’ gaffe that could not have been predicted.

The left-leaning current affairs program is under fire after gay comedian and cabaret performer Reuben Kaye joked on Tuesday’s show he admired Jesus Christ because ‘I love any man who can get nailed for three days straight and come back for more’.

Co-host Sarah Harris laughed at the joke, which went to air uncensored during the live broadcast, but her Muslim colleague Waleed Aly looked shocked.

The backlash from Muslims and Christians was swift and brutal, forcing the two presenters to issue a grovelling on-air apology on Wednesday as religious groups organise protests of Channel 10’s headquarters.

Em Rusciano tweeted on Thursday she finds it ‘hard to believe’ the offensive joke was not green-lit by producers given her experience on the program, which she says includes ‘very little’ improvisation with its live segments being carefully scripted.

Former The Project panellist Em Rusciano (pictured) has sensationally claimed a guest's controversial Jesus joke was 'script-approved' by the show's producers - despite the hosts saying it was a 'live TV' gaffe that could not have been predicted

Former The Project panellist Em Rusciano (pictured) has sensationally claimed a guest’s controversial Jesus joke was ‘script-approved’ by the show’s producers – despite the hosts saying it was a ‘live TV’ gaffe that could not have been predicted

The left-leaning current affairs program is under fire after gay comedian and cabaret performer Reuben Kaye (left) joked on Tuesday's show he admired Jesus Christ because 'I love any man who can get nailed for three days straight and come back for more'

The left-leaning current affairs program is under fire after gay comedian and cabaret performer Reuben Kaye (left) joked on Tuesday’s show he admired Jesus Christ because ‘I love any man who can get nailed for three days straight and come back for more’ 

The backlash from Muslims and Christians was swift and brutal, forcing co-anchors Waleed Aly (left) and Sarah Harris (right) to issue a grovelling on-air apology on Wednesday

The backlash from Muslims and Christians was swift and brutal, forcing co-anchors Waleed Aly (left) and Sarah Harris (right) to issue a grovelling on-air apology on Wednesday

She accused The Project of throwing Kaye ‘under the bus’ by distancing itself from him and offering a sombre apology stressing how ‘deeply and needlessly offensive’ his joke was.

‘I find it pretty hard to believe that Reuben Kaye’s joke that stopped a nation wasn’t script-approved,’ Rusciano tweeted.

‘I’ve worked on The Project – very little is off the cuff! A tiny, tiny amount. They have flat-out thrown him under the bus, in my opinion. Sorry, but someone had to say it.’

In a follow-up tweet, Rusciano took a swipe at the Australian media for elevating ‘mediocrity’ instead of ‘talented’ performers like Kaye.

‘They honestly don’t deserve him and his talent,’ she said.

‘I don’t know if Australia deserves him! In the end, we always seem to champion the non-threatening and the mediocre.’

Rusciano accused The Project of throwing Kaye 'under the bus' by distancing itself from him and offering a sombre apology stressing how 'deeply and needlessly offensive' his joke was

Rusciano accused The Project of throwing Kaye ‘under the bus’ by distancing itself from him and offering a sombre apology stressing how ‘deeply and needlessly offensive’ his joke was

She tweeted on Thursday she finds it 'hard to believe' the offensive joke was not green-lit by producers given her experience on the program, which she says includes 'very little' improvisation with its live segments being carefully scripted

She tweeted on Thursday she finds it ‘hard to believe’ the offensive joke was not green-lit by producers given her experience on the program, which she says includes ‘very little’ improvisation with its live segments being carefully scripted

In a follow-up tweet, Rusciano took a swipe at the Australian media for elevating 'mediocrity' instead of 'talented' performers like Kaye

In a follow-up tweet, Rusciano took a swipe at the Australian media for elevating ‘mediocrity’ instead of ‘talented’ performers like Kaye

It comes after an insider at The Project claimed Channel 10’s flagship talk show was being trashed by sloppy production values and editorial standards.

The ‘Jesus’ joke disaster would have been easily avoided in previous years, the source told Daily Mail Australia.

The informant said The Project used to pre-record 90 per cent of all interviews with potentially controversial performers such as Kaye, for the simple reason they could edit out anything offensive.

And on the occasion an ‘edgy’ guest wasn’t available for a pre-record, the hosts would be meticulously briefed, allowing them to ‘neutralise any situations like that, intervene if necessary and apologise if needed… not laugh like Sarah Harris or sit stony-faced like Waleed’.

But on Tuesday, Kaye’s joke went to air live and uncensored with Harris doubling over with laughter while Aly looked shocked, sparking a firestorm.

It comes after an insider at The Project claimed Channel 10's flagship talk show was being trashed by sloppy production values and editorial standards. The 'Jesus' joke disaster would have been easily avoided in previous years, when there more safeguards in place, they said

It comes after an insider at The Project claimed Channel 10’s flagship talk show was being trashed by sloppy production values and editorial standards. The ‘Jesus’ joke disaster would have been easily avoided in previous years, when there more safeguards in place, they said

The hosts were quick to issue an apology the following day but their gesture left viewers unmoved with calls continuing to grow for the show to be cancelled.

The insider said they ‘can’t understand’ why Reuben Kaye’s interview wasn’t pre-recorded when it was an obvious ‘red flag interview’.

‘In the few cases [before] an interview like that would be done live, the hosts would normally be well primed beforehand.

‘If the interview was done live because that was only time [Kaye] was available, why weren’t Harris and Aly more prepared?

‘It’s yet another sign of the slipping professionalism on the show, the declining standards of Ten, sloppiness and, frankly, their general slack approach.’

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