Alan Jones busted over ‘offensive’ Jacinda Ardern remarks
Alan Jones aired a correction on his show this morning after broadcasting “inaccurate comments” he made about climate change and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last year.
An investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority found the licensee of radio station 2GB, now owned by Nine, in breach of broadcasting rules.
The ACMA said it received more than 125 complaints about a broadcast of The Alan Jones Breakfast Show that went to air in 2019.
Over the course of the broadcast, Jones made several statements regarding Ms Ardern that the ACMA has determined offended against generally accepted community standards of decency.
The “shove a sock down her throat” remarks, made by Jones about the New Zealand PM, resulted in an advertiser exodus may have sealed the shock jock’s fate with the network.
Jones confirmed he would be “retiring from radio” at the end of May, on doctors’ orders, marking the end of a 35-year career behind the microphone.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said these comments were not appropriate for public radio broadcasting in today’s Australia.
“The repeated use of violent metaphors by Jones and his apparent encouragement of aggressive silencing of Ardern was highly offensive and did not meet contemporary community expectations.
“Acknowledging that the broadcast had caused offence to many in the community, 2GB did not oppose ACMA’s breach finding in relation to decency.”
Jones also made an on-air apology on the same day as the broadcast, an on-air clarification the following day and a written apology to Ms Ardern.
The licensee also advised the ACMA it had counselled the untamable broadcaster.
O’Loughlin said that given the imminent retirement of Jones from 2GB, the ACMA is not taking further action against Jones or the new owner Nine Radio.
The ACMA’s investigation also found a number of statements made in a segment about climate change policy were not accurate as comparisons were not based on like-for-like data.
These included an incorrect assertion by Jones that biomass is a fossil fuel, and the incorrect presentation of figures relating to energy use from solar and wind.
O’Loughlin said broadcasters had a responsibility under their own industry code to use reasonable efforts to ensure the facts they are presenting are accurate.
“The factual error and inconsistent information were used to incorrectly portray that Australia generates more of its energy from renewables than New Zealand.”
In addition to the on-air correction of the factually incorrect statements by Jones, 2GB will incorporate the investigation findings into future training for staff.