‘Do better’: Today hosts face backlash over ‘sexist’ Dolly Parton jokes

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Today is facing backlash from viewers after panelists Tony Jones and Tom Steinfort (L-R) made "disrespectful" comments about Dolly Parton's appearance. Source: Getty & Twitter/Tom Steinfort.

It has been a tumultuous few months for the stars of the Today show, following the departure of a number of the Channel Nine breakfast program’s biggest names.

Now Today is facing backlash from furious viewers after panelists Tony Jones and Tom Steinfort made “sexist” and “disrespectful” comments about Dolly Parton’s appearance on Tuesday’s episode.

During a segment about the recent Grammy Awards, which saw Dolly honoured with the MusiCares Person of the Year award, Tom shocked viewers by poking fun at the singer’s breasts.

“She is age defying and gravity defying!” he said, according to The Daily Mail.

“I beg your pardon, Tom Steinfort,” entertainment reporter Brooke Boney said in disbelief.

The comments were then followed by a crude joke by Jones, causing weatherman Steve Jacobs to burst into fits of laughter.

“Seeing those two on stage, I thought, was fantastic… and Miley of course,” he remarked.

“Too many boys. See what happens when we get them together,” Brooke said.

Meanwhile, Georgie Gardner appeared slightly uncomfortable, adding: “There we go, there we go! It’s a dysfunctional family at work. Let’s get someone to save us. Deb, over to you.”

Viewers wasted no time criticising the presenters though, with one tweeting: “How disappointing and disrespectful to lady of 73 who was just honoured by her entire industry as person of the year.”

“I was completely shocked,” another commentator wrote. “@TheTodayShow do better. Make those male hosts watch that segment back — there were at least three comments about her breasts.”

“Accidentally turned on @TheTodayShow but thought I’d stick around to watch Brooke Boney discuss the Grammys, only to hear the male co-hosts make boob jokes about Dolly Parton and Brooke have to laugh it off. EFFING GROSS,” replied another.

Meanwhile, one viewer added: “@TheTodayShow how have Tom Steinfort and Tony Jones not learnt?! This isn’t the Footy Show. Their juvenile “humour” & sexism is not appreciated. AGAIN, great work @boneybrooke for maintaining her professionalism & standards. Agree “too many boys”, not enough MEN on the panel.”

However others didn’t see the big deal, as one person said: “People have been making jokes about Dolly Parton’s ginormous boobs since the day dot…get over yourselves the perpetually outraged.”

This isn’t the first time that one of the Today presenters has sparked debate due to comments made on air. Last month, new addition Boney ignited a fiery debate during her first week in the hot seat as she expressed her passionate views surrounding Australia Day.

The indigenous entertainment reporter didn’t hold back as she revealed she wouldn’t be celebrating like many other Aussies on January 26 due to her heritage.

While she explained that she loves her country and would happily run around with an Australian flag any other day of the year, she explained that, for her family, that particular date is not a day of pride or happiness.

“I’m part of that community,” she told her co-stars. “I’m a Gamilaroi woman, my family’s from northern New South Wales, been there for about 60,000 years or so.”

Boney said while she isn’t going to go around telling anyone else what they should or shouldn’t do on Australia Day, she is a firm believer that the date should be changed to respect all Australians.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think Tony Jones and Tom Steinfort’s comments were disrespectful? Do you watch Today?

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