Alan Jones has been told he will be sacked if he makes any more offensive comments after he used his radio show to suggest Scott Morrison should “shove a sock down the throat” of the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern.
Jones caused widespread anger on Thursday after using his 2GB show to tell the Australian prime minister to carry out the action to stop Ardern talking about climate change.
“Notwithstanding his apologies, I have today discussed the matter with Alan and advised him that any recurrence of commentary of this nature will result in the termination of his contract,” the Macquarie Media chairman, Russell Tate, said on Saturday night.
The tough warning from Tate came after big advertisers including Snooze, Sleep City, ME Bank and Big W pulled advertising from Jones’s popular morning show in protest.
Jones apologised on Friday but only after first doubling down on his original comments and calling Ardern “gormless” and a “hypocrite”.
“Earlier today I did write to the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda [Ardern],” Jones said. “Amongst other things I said … I would never wish her any harm and would always wish her the best.”
He said his comments were nevertheless careless and “should have been more clearly thought”.
“I have erred and made a mistake”.
On Saturday, Tate said Jones recognised that his comments were wrong.
“He indicated that he had apologised sincerely to Prime Minister Ardern for any offence given, and had certainly not intended to suggest any harm through his comments,” Tate said.
Morrison was in Tuvalu with Ardern for the Pacific Islands Forum, where the New Zealand PM had said Australia would have to “answer to the Pacific” for its inaction on climate change.
The warning about Jones’s behaviour comes in the same week Nine moved to take complete control of Macquarie and assured the talkback talent it would be business as usual under the new owners.
Nine said it wouldn’t change the “bold” 2GB line-up if the $113.94m offer to acquire the remaining shares in Macquarie Media was accepted.
Jones signed a new contract in May after months of tense negotiations because of defamation payouts the company has had to make.
He hosts the breakfast slot on 2GB in Sydney and 4BC in Brisbane and has a two-year contract which ends in July 2021.
“With Alan’s current ratings share of the Sydney radio audience amongst the highest it has ever been, his dominance shows no sign of slowing down,” Tate said when he signed the new contract for the 78-year-old.