Game show host vows to fight assault charge
Beleaguered game show host Andrew O'Keefe has vowed to defend an assault charge and a provisional apprehended violence order taken out by police at the weekend.
It comes as The Daily Telegraph can reveal police will allege O'Keefe punched partner Orly Lavee in the face, punctured her lower lip, pulled her hair, kicked the back of her legs and spat on her.
The 49-year-old television personality has told friends he will fight the allegations in court.
"Andrew is receiving medical treatment in the wake of the incident," a source close to O'Keefe said.
"He will be defending the charge."
O'Keefe will face Waverley Local Court on Thursday charged with common assault relating to the alleged incident on Sunday morning at the Randwick home he shares with haematologist Dr Lavee.
"It has been difficult," a tearful Dr Lavee said outside her home on Monday.
"It has been a horrible few days. I don't want to go into it, I'm not feeling good about what's happened."
The Daily Telegraph can also reveal O'Keefe had already lost his lucrative deal with broadcaster Channel 7 prior to the incident.
"The program hosted by Andrew, The Chase Australia, is not currently in production.
"The program is produced for Seven by ITV Studios Australia. Production will resume soon and a decision about who will host future series still has to be made."
O'Keefe was arrested in Randwick on Sunday and taken to Maroubra police station where he was charged.
"Just before 1am Sunday 31 January 2021, officers from Eastern Beaches Area Command attended a Randwick unit after reports a 41-year-old woman had allegedly been assaulted in a domestic violence incident," a NSW Police spokeswoman said in a statement.
According to the bail conditions/provisional AVO, the former Weekend Sunrise and Deal Or No Deal host was released on bail, with conditions preventing him from contacting Dr Lavee, except through legal representation.
He must also not assault, molest, harass or intimidate her. Conditions of the provisional apprehended violence order also prevent O'Keefe from approaching or contacting Dr Lavee.
He is prohibited from attending her workplace and her $2 million apartment.
The apprehended violence order also states he must not assault or threaten, stalk, harass or intimidate, and intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage any property that belongs to or is in the possession of Dr Lavee.
In 2017, O'Keefe was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his work in charity and television. O'Keefe, who has three children from his marriage to ex-wife Eleanor, has in the past spoken out publicly about domestic violence.
He is a former chairman of domestic violence foundation White Ribbon Australia, which went into liquidation in 2019 and relaunched under new management last year.
"We are saddened to hear that Dr Orly Lavee has allegedly been assaulted by Andrew O'Keefe, a man who was previously aligned with White Ribbon Australia and is now charged with assault," White Ribbon Australia executive director Brad Chilcott said.
"There is never any excuse for violence or abuse."
Mr Chilcott continued: "We stand in solidarity with every victim and survivor of men's violence against women, and believe men who use violence must be held to account. Every man should take this (allegation) as an opportunity to reflect on their own attitudes, behaviours and relationships with the women in their lives."
O'Keefe has been a regular fixture on Australian television for nearly two decades.
A former intellectual property lawyer, he debuted on TV in Seven's Big Bite in 2003 and later that year beginning his long-running stint hosting Deal Or No Deal.
A graduate of elite Sydney private school, Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview, he is the son of late NSW Supreme Court judge Barry O'Keefe and nephew of Australian rock icon Johnny O'Keefe.
Originally published as Game show host vows to fight assault charge