Radio bosses have threatened to tear up Alan Jones’ multi-million dollar contract as advertisers boycott his breakfast show over his comments about New Zealand’s prime minister.
Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate issued a warning to the controversial broadcaster on Saturday, telling him he will be sacked if he continues to use offensive and violent language about women.
Jones on Thursday criticised Jacinda Ardern after she said “Australia has to answer to the Pacific” on climate change at a forum in the island nation of Tuvalu.
He said Ms Ardern was a “joke” for preaching about climate change and that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison should “shove a sock down her throat”.
Mr Tate said the comments had caused offence to many people but that Jones has publicly apologised for them.
The breakfast radio host recognised his comments were “careless, unnecessary and wrong” and “should have been more clearly thought out”, he said.
“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,” the chairman said in a statement on Saturday night.
“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.”
Macquarie Media only re-signed Jones on a lucrative two-year contract in May following months of tense negotiations.
Several companies have indicated they intend to pull advertising from Jones’ on breakfast program – which is broadcast on 2GB in Sydney and 4BC in Brisbane – following his remarks about Ms Ardern.
They include ME Bank, Snooze and Bing Lee.
“Behaviour like this don’t reflect our values here so it was an easy choice to pull advertising,” ME Bank tweeted.
Ms Ardern herself brushed off Jones’ comments, while Mr Morrison said he had gone too far.
“I find that very disappointing and of course that’s way out of line,” he told reporters on Thursday.
It comes less than a week after Nine Entertainment offered to take full ownership of Macquarie, which owns 2GB, 4BC and 3AW in Melbourne.