A report on a mugging at the Rio Olympics on The Today Show this morning quickly descended into an excuse for host Karl Stefanovic to reel off a torrent of outdated "tranny" jokes.

Yesterday, Today reporter Christine Ahern revealed how she and her cameraman were approached by would-be thieves just an hour after arriving at the Olympic city.

Ahern described her would-be-thieves as "a group of transvestites". It's not clear whether she meant her attackers were drag queens, cross-dressers or transgender women - and yes, there is a difference.

Reporter Christine Ahern appeared to talk about her attempted mugging. Photo / Channel 9
Reporter Christine Ahern appeared to talk about her attempted mugging. Photo / Channel 9

Crossing to Ahern this morning, Stefanovic couldn't contain his mirth as he peppered their interview with references to "trannies" and implications Channel Nine cameraman Glenn had enjoyed the encounter.


"I am pleased to say that Christine Ahern joins us live in one piece. Christine, at first I was afraid I was petrified, I kept thinking I could never live without you by my side..." said Stefanovic, as Gloria Gaynor's 1979 disco gay anthem I Will Survive played in the background.

Ahern filled Stefanovic in on how the encounter had happened.

"We had to shoot a piece to camera on the beach and things just turned really quickly. We came across a group of transvestites, one very strong - the only reason it is important is because they were very strong. One came straight for us and tried to get my cameraman's camera but he was so scared about telling the boss that he had lost the camera within an hour of landing in Rio, so he held on to it."

The cameraman, Glen, then stepped into shot, with Karl joking that his colleague was "no stranger to trannies".

"He has fought off tougher. Tougher trannies. They don't call him the bull for nothing. Let's be serious, because one of them was armed with a brick in their handbag and that was used as a weapon against your security guard or a police officer, is that right?" asked Stefanovic.

Barely able to conceal his laughter, Stefanovic then revealed his trump card: a mocked-up police sketch of the "tranny" mugger - Hugo Weaving in character for Priscilla, Queen of The Desert.
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"The other thing is Chris, I know that you have gone to see the police about this tranny. We have a confit made up and we know they don't all look the same. Is that the tranny they are talking about it? Christine sent me that on email," he laughed, as the mocked-up sketch appeared on the screen.

GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Defamation Alliance) lists "tranny" among their "defamatory terms" for media reporting of trans people, advising that the term, and others like it, "dehumanise transgender people and should not be used in mainstream media".

"The criteria for using these derogatory terms should be the same as those applied to vulgar epithets used to target other groups: they should not be used except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted," it states.

Karl. Dude. It's 2016. Your colleague got mugged. Enough with the "tranny" jokes.