“My dear Prime Minister”: Alan Jones’ apology letter to Jacinda Ardern revealed
Australian radio host Alan Jones said he “did not intend to suggest any violence” towards Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in an apology letter.
On August 15, Jones was addressing Ardern’s meeting with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Pacific Islands Forum on his breakfast show when the broadcaster suggested Morrison should “shove a sock down her throat” to silence her climate change views, and that Ardern should be “backhanded”.
The comments sparked widespread backlash, with over 100 complaints made to the Australian Communications and Media Authority against the radio station 2GB. More than 100 advertisers – including Coles, Bing Lee and the Commonwealth Bank – took a stance against the program.
In a letter obtained by The Guardian, Jones said his comments “didn’t come out quite as I intended”.
“My dear Prime Minister,” the letter read.
“I would like to assure you that I did not intend to suggest any violence towards you.
“While I may disagree with your stance on climate change, I would never wish any harm to you.
“I had meant to say ‘put a sock in it’ and my actual words were taken literally by some who took offence on your behalf.”
Jones then invited Ardern to do an on-air interview to discuss the climate change issue. “I would also like to extend a standing invitation to participate in an interview on my programme,” he wrote.
“Again, my sincerest apologies and please know I wish you and your family only the best.”
Last month, Ardern told AM show that Jones had a right to his opinions.
“I don’t have an opinion on every single person who says something about me,” Ardern said. “And particularly given this is an Australian commentator, we’ve got enough of our own to occupy my time without me having to jump into something that an Aussie says.”
Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate said any repeat offences would lead to Jones’ contract being terminated.
“Notwithstanding his apologies, I have … discussed the matter with Alan and advised him that any recurrence of commentary of this nature will result in the termination of his contract,” Tate said.