The Ally McBeal actor sat down with Sherri Shepherd on Tuesday’s episode of the recently launched talk show, which has featured guests including Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss and comedian Kym Whitley.
Speaking about a previous encounter with the former The View host, Marlo, 84, said: ‘Look how beautiful you are, you’ve lost a lot of weight. I interviewed you for my AOL show [Monday’s with Marlo] and you were a a big woman!’
Extending her arms out and puffing up her face, Marlo continued: ‘But you’ve still got the boobies.’
Sherri took the remarks in good humour and laughed as she went over to embrace Marlo, although there was a mixed reaction from the studio audience.
Staffers on the show, which launched last month, are said to be ‘not happy’ by what Marlo said, describing it as like a ‘slap in the face.’
‘Sherri was a good sport, but people [at the show] are very protective of her.
A source told Page Six: ‘People were not happy that she fat-shamed her on national TV. It was like a slap in the face.’
‘She works really hard at creating a very positive environment. Morale [at work] is everything to her, so people sort of went into mama bear mode.’
Some fans on Twitter were upset with the terminology used, with one saying: ‘You owe Sherri an apology. Shame on you.’
A viewer remarked: ‘Fat shaming is lame. Really disappointed you.’
A fan added: ‘She owes Sherry an apology #unacceptable behavior that would never happen to a man just because she’s 84 doesn’t give her a pass.’
Others praised Sherri’s composure, with one writing: ‘@sherrieshepherd I know she wasn’t being insulting but you played off Marlo Thomas comments about your weight like a pro.’
Sherri launched on September 12 on Fox, with its host previously having a career in acting including on shows The Jamie Foxx Show and Less than Perfect.
Sherri airs weekdays at 10 am on Fox.