Steerpike Steerpike

Is John Humphrys turning into a ‘patronising old duffer’?

This morning Today show presenters Justin Webb and John Humphrys found themselves under fire after they listed the guest editors that will be taking control of the show as of next week. When it came to name Miriam González Durántez’s upcoming slot, Webb said: ‘you’ll hear from the lawyer Miriam González, also of course Nick Clegg’s wife’.

A number of bothered listeners were quick to complain online that she was the only guest editor to be described in relation to her partner. While one could argue that González first came to the media’s attention through her politician husband, this is not the first time the Today presenters have been criticised over their attitude to women.

In fact in a recent interview with the Sunday Times, the comedian Bill Bailey takes aim at John Humphrys over his approach to female guests on the Radio 4 show. The Black Books actor — who praises Sarah Montague and Mishal Husain for their work — claims that Humphrys appears to be ‘turning into a patronising old duffer’ when it comes to his attitude to women:

‘John Humphrys seems to be turning into a patronising old duffer, especially with the female guests. “You’re a woman explorer? But how can you carry a rucksack — you’re a woman!”’

In the past Humphrys has even found himself under attack for his treatment of women who are not on the show. Last year he was accused of ‘everyday sexism’ by Baroness Warsi after he took William Hague to task for ignoring issues — including Iraq — to attend a sexual violence in war summit with the Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie. Warsi criticised Humphrys for suggesting that Hague was ‘star-struck’ because Jolie was a beautiful women, when the topic was really a serious issue that deserved attention.

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