8 Oct 2012

Radio network pulls advertising on Alan Jones' show

1:59 pm on 8 October 2012

Australian broadcaster Alan Jones says "21st Century cyber bullying" is the reason all commercials have been pulled from his radio breakfast show.

Jones is embroiled in a controversy over comments about Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's father, who he said had "died of shame", kicked off his high-rating Sydney 2GB show on Monday by confirming all commercials had been temporarily suspended.

A number of advertisers chose to pull their commercials after Jones' comments about Ms Gillard's father. An online petition was then launched, urging companies to boycott his show.

Macquarie Radio Network, owner of 2GB, decided to suspend all advertising, alleging that some companies associated with Jones' show had been threatened online.

"In the light of comments which I made, for which I've apologised, there are now comprehensive threats to destroy these businesses if they don't comply with the boycott," Jones told his listeners.

He said the threats had come from people who did not listen to 2GB.

"The radio station has conducted research over the past weekend and it's clear that the great majority of listeners to this programme acknowledge my apology and have not changed their attitudes," he said.

"We saw that last week in the avalanche of calls made to this programme.

"But as (2GB executive chairman) Russell Tate said in his statement yesterday, we are now witnessing 21st century cyber bullying."

Jones said he did not object to petitions."They have been a reality for years. But one petition calls on signatories to 'destroy the joint'."

It was not immediately clear if that was a reference to Jones' comments in August in which he suggested Ms Gillard and other women were "destroying the joint".

The threats had been made on websites, including Facebook, by email to the radio station and via its telephone switchboard.

Some of the telephone calls had reduced the "girls on the switchboards" to tears, Jones said.

Jones attacked the petition, saying people could sign it anonymously and use pseudonyms such as Osama bin Laden.

"It is unprecedented to suspend advertising on a show like this," he said.

"But Russell Tate made the very valid point that we have to forget ourselves for a moment and take a stand on behalf of small business."