Alan Jones’ advertisers face social media shitstorm in “died of shame” controversy

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Image: SULC/Facebook

Advertisers on Alan Jones’ show on 2GB are facing an avalanche of social media messages, calling them to distance themselves or be boycotted, after the conservative talk show host said that Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father “died of shame”.

The comment was made in a function hosted by the Sydney University Liberal Club, and was broken by The Daily Telegraph on Saturday night (who knew that they had some journalistic credibility left?). Once it hit the website, many criticised Jones for the comments. Many are also criticising him over his ‘apology’ on Sunday morning.

2GB has since removed the list of advertisers, however it still remains circulating amongst social media. Companies such as Bing Lee have pulled its advertising on the show. Woolworths, listed as one of those advertising on Alan Jones’ programme, wrote on Facebook, “We do not and have not recently sponsored this program. From time to time we have had advertising during this program, however, this morning we have made a decision to suspend this advertising.”

Mercedes-Benz Australia wrote on Facebook, “Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific has instructed its dealers to cease any form of advertising on the Alan Jones show as our company does not condone such inappropriate comments.”

Virgin Australia tweeted that it “currently has no commercial relationship with the Alan Jones programme”. That said, based on tweets, they still have a commercial relationship with 2GB. Telstra also has replied to people, saying that they “will not support” the programme.

According to News.com.au, other companies include Challenger, Lexus of Parramatta, Freedom Furniture, Dilmah Tea, and ING Direct have also said that they have withdrawn advertising. Another, JJ Metro West, is considering cancelling; while Harris Partners clarified they sponsor 2GB.

However, as with everything, things are complicated. Alan Jones is realistically not going to have his programme sacked. Why? 2GB’s part owner is the man himself – Alan Jones. Though, that said, his share can be bought out if, and only if, his position becomes financially untenable. As well, advertisers can redirect their spending to other programmes – similar to how companies started pulling their advertising from Kyle and Jackie O after his controversies.

Meanwhile, a petition has been started on Change.org that already has 43,000 signatures already. Started by Nic Lochner from Randwick, it basically wants advertisers and 2GB to end their association with Jones. Lochner wrote: “These comments are cruel, reprehensible and utterly shameful. There is absolutely no justification for attacking someone’s loved ones and disrespecting their grief to score political points.

“Companies should not be supporting these ugly, hateful attacks — advertisers should withdraw their support from Alan Jones’ program immediately.”

Also under social media criticism is the Sydney University Liberal Club – who hosted the event that Jones made the controversial comments. Writing on Facebook today, the Executive apologised and said it does not endorse the comments. Saying, “These comments were distasteful and offensive. They do not reflect the views of SULC or its members. We deeply regret any offence or hurt caused by the comments and unreservedly welcome the apology made by Alan Jones today regarding the matter.”

Though, as one person on Facebook noted, “if you thought his remarks were so inappropriate, you wouldn’t have made that idiotic tweet about what a brilliant speech he gave in the first place.” That was in response to a tweet earlier in the week by the SULC praising Jones, which has been since deleted.

You can obviously tell that moving to a new host means I get to swear in the titles. Apologies to those that may find it unprofessional.

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