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NRL legend Matty Johns under fire for 'dangerous and offensive' Hitler joke

The Matty Johns Show has been slammed for airing a tasteless joke about Adolf Hitler during the program on Sunday night.

An image of the Nazi leader was mocked up in a photoshopped image of the crowd during the Manly Sea Eagles and Canterbury Bulldogs match as part of the NRL's fan-in-the-stand initiative while spectators are unable to attend games due to COVID-19.

Hitler was pictured alongside Channel 9's Richard Wilkins, with the program being blasted on social media after the image went viral.

'Please tell me this didn't actually happen,' Federal MP for Macnamara Josh Burns tweeted. 

A photoshopped image of Adolf Hitler (pictured left) appeared on the Matty Johns Show on Sunday night

The image was doctored up for a joke as part of the NRL's fan-in-the-stand initiative while fans are unable to attend games due to COVID-19. Pictured: Matty John with his wife Patricia at 'The Final Winter' premiere in August 2007

'Sickening. The NRL has really worked hard to change the culture around league and it's definitely improving so I'm disappointed that someone in 2020 would think Hitler jokes are funny and try and dump them in it,' one fan posted on Twitter.

'I understand people can get precious about things and very easily offended but this is not one of those times. You can't make jokes about Hitler,' another fan wrote.

'Absolutely disgraceful!' another fan posted. 'How does something like this make the cut?' 

CEO of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry Alex Ryvchin said the program should tell their viewers it's not on.

'This sort of stupidity, the casualisation of Hitler, Nazis, and by extension their crimes, is what leads to swastikas being graffitied throughout our cities and school kids being harassed with gas chamber jokes,' Mr Ryvchin posted. 

Eagle-eyed footy fans spot British serial killer Harold Shipman at the Newcastle Knights v Penrith Panthers game on Sunday

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Fox Sports for comment.

Pranksters have hijacked the NRL's fan-in-the-stand initiative with a family dog, Boris Johnson's embattled chief adviser and one of the world's most prolific serial killers all making an appearance at the weekend's fixtures.

Round three action returned to television screens in Australia and across the world after a 10-week hiatus due to the coronavirus lockdown.

But with matches played at empty stadiums, the game's administrators wanted to bring in a few fun ideas to liven-up the broadcast.

As well as automated crowd noises, the NRL also launched an initiative where supporters can have a cardboard cutout of themselves in the grandstand.

A portion of the $22 fee also goes to the mental health charity Gotcha4Life.

In Friday night's matchup between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs the camera zoomed in a cardboard cutout of a dog, to the laughter of commentators

In Friday night's matchup between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs the camera zoomed in a cardboard cutout of a dog, to the laughter of commentators.

'My dog was just on national TV. Best $22 I've ever spent,' the dog owner wrote on Twitter.

At the same game, the UK Prime Minister's chief political adviser Dominic Cummings was also spotted.

The besieged archetype of the Brexit campaign has come under fire recently after he breached coronavirus lockdown rules by travelling over 400km to his parents' farm in Durham.

While fans mostly appreciated the political jab on social media, it was at the Penrith Panthers vs Newcastle Knights match where things took a more sinister tone.

Eagle-eyed footy fans noticed a cutout of Harold Shipman - also known as Dr Death.

The UK Prime Minister's chief political advisor Dominic Cummings was also spotted in the stands

'(I) am absolutely loving the panthers v Knights in sunny England but not sure why serial killer Harold Shipman is in the stands,' a user posted to Twitter.

The English GP was convicted of 15 murders in January 2000, but authorities believe he may have killed up to 250 patients in his care.

He died by his own hand in prison in 2004, aged 57.

'We wanted to make sure the lifeblood of the NRL, our members and fans, had the chance to pull on their jerseys, don their club colours and support in a really fun way,' NRL head of marketing Peter Jarmain told NRL.com when the initiative was launched.

'I know the players and clubs will appreciate the support, even if the fans aren't able to shout, celebrate and jump around for the tries and hits as they usually would.'

The NRL is the first sport in Australia to return to competition after the COVID-19 shut down.

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