Alan Jones "died of shame" controversy

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Alan Jones

The Alan Jones "died of shame" controversy originated from a speech made by Australian radio broadcaster Alan Jones in September 2012, in which Jones suggested that then-Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's late father, John, "died of shame".

Background[edit]

On 23 September 2012, Sydney University Liberal Club hosted its annual president's dinner with a keynote address by Sydney radio presenter Alan Jones. In his address, Jones was cited as saying, in reference to Prime Minister Julia Gillard's recently deceased father, John Gillard, "The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame. To think that he had a daughter who told lies every time she stood for parliament".[1][2] At the same event, the Club was auctioning a jacket made from chaff bags, autographed by Alan Jones, a reference to his previous comments on radio that Julia Gillard should be "put into a chaff bag and thrown into the sea".[3]

Following this speech being made public by the media on 29 September 2012,[4] there were calls for 2GB to dismiss Jones. Jones' speech was secretly recorded by a News Limited journalist.[5] After the remarks were condemned across social media and the Australian media, Jones held a press conference and apologised. Jones also attempted to contact the Prime Minister to offer a personal apology, but was told she would not be returning his call. One academic linked the public reaction to the "bigger political and media context", citing the Leveson Inquiry in Britain, saying that it shows the "dark side of media power, including bullying by media owners and powerful media individuals who lobby politicians, demand favours, use their outlets as a bully pulpit and to seek revenge when they don't get their way."[6][7][8][9]

Following the controversy over the comments made by Jones, on 7 October his employer, Macquarie Radio Network, announced that it would suspend all advertising on the Alan Jones breakfast show on 2GB to protect its advertisers from pressure being applied through social media activism.[10]

Jones returned to the airwaves on 8 October 2012 without advertising.[11]

Advertising resumed on the Jones' show on 16 October 2012 without many major advertisers.[12]

Reaction[edit]

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she would not comment on Alan Jones's remarks, but instead thanked the Australian people for the "outpouring of support" that she and her family had received following the death of her father. When asked if she would appear on Alan Jones's radio program she said, "No, I would not. I haven't spoken to Mr Jones and I don't intend to."[13]

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described the comments as the "lowest of the low" and said he would be boycotting Jones's program.[14]

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Jones's comments were indecent and the public reaction is justifiable. Senator Carr further said "I cannot believe that it is helpful for a commercial enterprise to live with the brand 'hate radio'. And I just think the vehemence and the virulence of the message that comes out of the radio station is a very unhelpful thing for Australia.[15][16]

Opposition member Malcolm Turnbull said Jones's remarks were "cruel and offensive" and that "he should apologise to the PM and her family".[17] He described power of the social media campaign that caused sponsors to act as "both inspiring and horrifying"[18] and said Jones has got "a dose of his own medicine". Turnbull further said that Jones had not been the victim of cyberbullying as Jones claimed but new media had allowed thousands of Australians to speak up "unedited and unmediated".[19]

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott described Jones's comments as "wrong and offensive".[20] However, he used the word 'shame' in parliament on 9 October, stating that due to the ongoing Peter Slipper affair the government "should already have died of shame".[21] Gillard responded, publicly addressing this issue directly for the first time, criticising Abbott during parliamentary question time for "misogyny and sexism".[22] Her speech was reported worldwide, going "viral" on social media outlets.[23]

Woolworths state government relations manager Simon Berger who was the master of ceremonies at the function where Jones spoke, and who had donated the chaff bag jacket auctioned,[24] resigned from his position as a result of this controversy.[25] Woolworths said "While Simon attended the function in a private capacity, he has acknowledged that it has directly affected his ability to carry out his role at Woolworths as a member of Corporate Affairs team."[26]

Regional radio stations[edit]

By 17 October, three regional radio stations, Albury based 2AY, Deniliquin based station 2QN and Darwin's Territory FM had stopped broadcasting Jones' show.[27][28][29][30]

Sponsors[edit]

More than 80[citation needed] companies pulled out of advertising from the Alan Jones Show including Mercedes-Benz Hornsby, Woolworths, Freedom Furniture, Lexus of Parramatta,[28] Coles, ING, Bing Lee, Mazda, 7-Eleven, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and HCF Health Insurance.[31] The pull out by advertisers was reported to cost 2GB up to $80,000 per day.[32]

Mercedes Benz also withdrew Jones' Mercedes S-Class worth $250,000 which was part of the sponsorship deal.[33][34]

Macquarie Radio estimated the boycott cost the station between $1 million and $1.5 million, and some advertisers said they will never return.[35][36]

Radio audience[edit]

In the Nielsen radio survey conducted between 29 July 2012 and 20 October 2012, Alan Jones increased his share of total radio listeners, gaining an extra 0.5% of the market. Jones had 17.3 per cent of the audience for 2GB from 5.30am to 9am.[37][38][39]

The Nielsen radio survey conducted between 28 October 2012 and 23 February 2013 indicates the 2GB audience is 15.4 per cent for the 5.30am to 9.00am time slot.[40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Julia Gillard's father died of shame: Alan Jones". The Australian. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Heath Aston (20 September 2010). "Alan Jones says Julia Gillard's father died of shame". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Alan Jones apologises for speech that claimed PM's father 'died of shame'". The Daily Telegraph. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Julia Gillard's father died of shame: Alan Jones". The Australian. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Journalist says no Jones privacy breach". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Associated Press. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Young, Sally (2 October 2012). "Shock for the shock jock". National Times. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Alan Jones apologises to prime minister Julia Gillard over comments". The Australian. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "'Private' dinner with Alan Jones was open to anyone". Herald Sun. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Calls mount for Alan Jones to be sacked". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2012. [dead link]
  10. ^ "2GB drop all advertising on Jones Show". www.radiotoday.com.au (radiotoday.com.au). 7 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Ad-free Alan Jones back on air". The Alan Jones program on 2GB went to air this morning without ads. ABC AM. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Advertisers return today to Jones show". The Australian. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Prime Minister Julia Gillard won't comment on Alan Jones's comments during press conference in Launceston". The Courier-Mail. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-27. 
  14. ^ Simon Cullen (3 October 2012). "Gillard refuses to be drawn on Jones controversy". ABC News. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Jones comment indecent". I think it was quite indecent and I think the public reaction is justifiable, but I think the point ought to be made: the people who cheered it are activists in the Liberal Party and the sort of people who'd be around Tony Abbott and his ministers were he to win the next election and the challenge is for Tony Abbott to tear up his links with such generators of hatred and virulence. Australian Broadcasting Corporation Lateline. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  16. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/backlash-a-warning-for-jonescarr/story-fncynkc6-1226487770144
  17. ^ "The PM's dad died of shame: Alan Jones under fire after cruel and offensive attack on Gillard". News.com.au. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-27. 
  18. ^ "Jones campaign 'inspiring, horrifying', says Malcolm Turnbull". news.com.au. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  19. ^ (9 October 2012). Turnbull: Jones gets dose of own medicine. SBS News. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  20. ^ "I won't ignore Alan Jones's radio audience: Tony Abbott". The Australian. 2 October 2012. 
  21. ^ Pearson, Nick (9 October 2012). "Government should have died of shame: Abbott". Ninemsn. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  22. ^ "Gillard labels Abbott a misogynist" (video). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  23. ^ "Social shift sees Gillard goes viral". About the ABC. Retrieved 2012-10-27. 
  24. ^ "Chaff bag jacket donated by Woolworths executive". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012-10-27. 
  25. ^ "Woolies exec quits amid Alan Jones row – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2012-10-27. 
  26. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/jones-scandal-costs-woolworths-executive-simon-berger-his-job/story-fncynkc6-1226489427381
  27. ^ "2AY dumps Alan Jones". The Border Mail. 2012-10-01. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  28. ^ a b Michael Idato & Karl Quinn (1 October 2012). "Sponsors drop Alan Jones after attack on PM". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  29. ^ "Top End radio station banishes Alan Jones show". ABC NEWS. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  30. ^ "Alan gets the boot - for good". NT NEWS. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  31. ^ "HCF baulks as ad aired on Jones show". The Australian. 29 October 2012. 
  32. ^ Karl Quinn (16 April 2012). "Alan Jones' $80,000-a-day problem". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012-10-27. 
  33. ^ Jonathan Marshall, Jordan Baker, Alicia Wood (7 October 2012). "Alan Jones loses his Mercedes-Benz and Macquarie Radio Network suspends all ads over comments made about PM Julia Gillard's father". The Australian. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  34. ^ "Alan Jones told to return $250k Mercedes". ABC News. 7 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  35. ^ Editor (15 November 2012). "er $1 million lost from Alan Jones advertiser boycott". radioinfo. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  36. ^ "Alan Jones costs radio network over $1m". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Associated Press. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  37. ^ Scott Ellis. "Sydney radio ratings". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  38. ^ "Backlash fails to leave dent on Alan Jones". News.com.au. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  39. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/alan-jones-scandal-a-ratings-winner/story-fndo317g-1226506674077
  40. ^ "Survey #1 2013". Nielsen poll. Retrieved 7 April 2013.