Radio broadcaster Alan Jones has come under intense scrutiny following his Jacinda Ardern comments. Picture: Ben Rushton/AAP Image
Radio broadcaster Alan Jones has come under intense scrutiny following his Jacinda Ardern comments. Picture: Ben Rushton/AAP Image

Why this ‘appalling’ man is still on the air

"I hope Scott Morrison gets tough here with a few backhanders."

" … shove a sock down her throat."

"(She should be) put into a chaff bag and thrown into the sea."

"You can guess what many people would rather hang 58 metres over George Street."

These are just some of the comments shock jock Alan Jones has made about women in power in the past seven years.

And despite the massive backlash over his latest gaffe, one thing is all but certain - the veteran's career will survive for yet another day.

Last week, the audibly angry 2GB broadcaster made aggressive and disrespectful comments about New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern - a women who leads one of this country's closest allies.

The 78-year-old's extraordinary spray was in response to Ms Ardern's criticism of Australia's climate change policies, and included lines such as: "This lightweight New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern is challenging Scott Morrison over climate change. Now I hope Scott Morrison gets tough here with a few backhanders … hasn't got a clue this woman.

"She's a clown, Jacinda Ardern; a complete clown.

"I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat.''

The reaction was swift and brutal, with former PM Malcolm Turnbull lashing Jones' "latest misogynistic rant" and calling on him to apologise.

Speaking on the ABC's Radio National Drive about the comments, Mr Turnbull also said: "His pattern of using abusive and violent language against women, particularly women politicians, is disgraceful … He is an appalling misogynist in the way he talks about women."

Jones has been widely condemned by public figures and everyday Aussies alike, and Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate announced Jones' multimillion-dollar contract would be terminated if he slips up again.

But it's not the first time this has happened.

Radio broadcaster Alan Jones has a woeful track record — but keeps getting away with it. Picture: Ben Rushton/AAP Image
Radio broadcaster Alan Jones has a woeful track record — but keeps getting away with it. Picture: Ben Rushton/AAP Image

And according to Aussie public relations expert Nicole Reaney, the latest furore will not be enough to remove Jones from the airwaves.

"What we're seeing here is a pattern of abusive, misogynistic remarks against women in leadership," she told news.com.au.

"He's a serial agitator, this isn't the first time and a repeat pattern of communication and behaviour shapes a personal brand.

"When you review his reputation online and see what he's said in the media nobody can argue this is new territory for him - he's made comments about Julia Gillard, Gladys Berejiklian and now Jacinda Ardern, so this is not an isolated incident."

Ms Reaney is referring to Jones' infamous 2012 comments about then-PM Julia Gillard, when he suggested she should be "put into a chaff bag and thrown into the sea'', and saying her recently-deceased father had "died of shame".

In 2017, Jones published a tweet which many interpreted as a joke about the lynching of Sydney mayor Clover Moore.

"You can guess what many people would rather hang 58 metres over George Street … and it's not a Cloud Arch," he posted.

Later that year, he also warned NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian that her head was "in a noose" over a state government mining policy.

But Ms Reaney said Jones kept getting chance after chance by his employers because of his show's incredible popularity - and the profits it raked in.

"If it were a lower-ranked program I'm sure there potentially would have been more action taken faster, but it is a leading, popular breakfast program," she said.

"Even the fact it took the chairman a day to comment … in normal situations - in the corporate world - this situation would have been tackled early on."

Ms Reaney said companies who had advertised on Jones' program were under intense "social pressure from the public to remove their ads", which tends to happen in the wake of any scandal - although she said the impact would likely be temporary.

The public have warmed to Jacinda Ardern’s ‘classy’ response to the furore. Picture: The AM Show
The public have warmed to Jacinda Ardern’s ‘classy’ response to the furore. Picture: The AM Show

"Those who have pulled out will be able to build some brand equity as it shows they're recognising their own brand's values and also those of their customers," she said.

"But I think there will be a period of disruption, then over time it will settle again, because we are now seeing a pattern.

"I believe he will survive this, and (2GB) will ride this news wave and recover - however, I also believe if he does slip up again and causes such contention among the public, there will be more pressure and more of a risk to his role."

Ms Reaney said 2GB would benefit from introducing technology which would allow staffers to immediately cut Jones' broadcast in future if his commentary became too risky.

"There needs to be some protocol around what is acceptable and unacceptable when you are a public figure and a role model to not just your direct listeners but also the public," she said.

"There could potentially be some technology enabled so that when the conversation steers away from the corporate policy of the station, there is a built-in strategy to protect the brand from the conversation going to air."

Ms Reaney said while Jones had apologised, it didn't seem completely genuine.

"To demonstrate you are genuinely apologetic you need to choose words wisely and really look at the situation from a reasonable person's point of view - Jones' comments weren't misinterpreted, they were chosen to be used, so in this situation he should take a few steps back and say 'those comments weren't right and it shouldn't have happened'," she said.

"There's no misinterpreting word like 'shove' and 'backhanders' - the apology and corporate stance should have been taken immediately. Own it, prevent it and move on."

In contrast, Ms Reaney said Ms Ardern's refusal to be drawn into the spat by retaliating was widely seen as a "classy" move by the public.