The backlash against radio host Alan Jones over his controversial comments about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has hit a whole new level, with another of 2GB‘s main advertisers ceasing its business relationship with the station – supermarket giant Coles.
Jones came under fire earlier this month when he claimed Prime Minister Scott Morrison should “shove a sock down her [Jacinda’s] throat” after she criticised the Liberal leader’s stance on climate change at this year’s Pacific Island Forum, saying Australia would have to “answer to” the rest of the Pacific. Following in the lead of mattress brand Koala and gym company Anytime Fitness, the supermarket chain confirmed it has stopped all advertisements on 2GB as it goes against their values of diversity of respect.
“Coles values diversity, respect and actively promotes the rights of all of our team members and our customers,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We stopped advertising on the Alan Jones program on Friday 16th August and have subsequently stopped advertising on 2GB.”
Coles is just one of many to cease advertisement with the radio station over the comments made by Jones, with Koala one of the first to pull the pin. In a post shared on Twitter earlier this month, the company confirmed: “Koala has cut ties with Alan Jones. We’re a significant buyer in the medium and it’s something we should have done earlier. Climate change is real, violence against women starts with words and the bloke has had too many chances. @2GB873 time to wake up.”
Meanwhile, Anytime Fitness took to Facebook writing: “Thank you for your feedback over the past few days. The comments made last week by Alan Jones regarding Jacinda Ardern do not represent our view or values. For this reason, we pulled all our advertising from 2GB last Friday and do not have any further advertising planned with the station.”
Coles’ decision comes just days after Jones spoke out in an interview on Nine News about the backlash received, revealing he’s been left shocked by the cruel comments and threats to kill him in the wake of the controversy. He admitted he has fallen victim to a relentless social media campaign and added: “It seems to be okay that, on social media about Alan Jones, say that we should kill him… The language being used about me is just extraordinary.”
It came hours after Ardern herself broke her silence and hit back at the shock jock, claiming “revenge is best served through a Bledisloe Cup”. The 39-year-old appeared on The AM Show in New Zealand where she responded to Jones’ fiery outburst against her.
Ardern addressed the comments, claiming she doesn’t have the time to react to the criticism received for her opinions and it’s all a part of being a politician. “I am a politician, I am open for criticism and of course, we should all be held to account and the idea that any politician could or should be protected, I absolutely rally against that,” she told The AM Show. “You should see my social media. We sign up for that when we are politicians.
“I have tried very hard, specifically on this Alan Jones comment, you won’t find me having particularly reacted or responded. I don’t have an opinion on every single person that says something about me, particularly given this is an Australian commentator. We have enough of our own to occupy my time.”
While Ardern remained remarkably civil with her response, she did reference Jones’ time coaching the Australian rugby union team the Wallabies and the recent win by the All Blacks, who defeated the Aussies 36-0 to retain the Bledisloe Cup. “I understand he used to be closely linked to the Wallabies, so let’s just say that revenge is best served through a Bledisoe Cup,” she added.
Although many have criticised Jones for his words towards Ardern, he has received the support of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson who took to social media to express her opinion and outrage towards the backlash from Australians. The politician slammed the public and Morrison for criticising Jones and said he shouldn’t have had to apologise for expressing his thoughts.
In the post on Twitter the pollie wrote: “@AlanJones said nothing wrong, Jacinda Ardern was rightfully put in her place! Only mistake Jones made was apologising to a fake outrage mob! PM’s response was disappointing, should have supported free speech. Aussies will punish companies that cave to keyboard warriors!”