Outspoken radio personality Alan Jones is no stranger to controversy, but the 75-year-old former national rugby coach has come under fire this weekend after he launched a scathing, unprovoked attack on a female sports reporter.
The former Wallabies coach singled out Beth Newman, who writes for rugby.com.au, in a scathing column for The Australian on Friday, in which he accused the journalist of being a “paid mouthpiece” for Australian Rugby.
“I picked up the rugby program for the Test match last Saturday in New Zealand,” he wrote. “The world of rugby was present at the game. They would read the program. And some hack, Beth Newman, is writing on Australian Rugby. You guessed it — she’s a paid mouthpiece for Australian Rugby.
“How the hell would her utterly irrelevant musings represent an appropriate evaluation to the world of the state of the Wallabies? And what on earth must the rest of the world think about us when such drivel passes for authoritative comment.”
Jones was branded “cruel” and told to “get a life” over the comments as people rushed to Newman’s defence. Fox sports reporter Natalie Yoannidis said: “Really proud to be apart of the Australian rugby community today. Comments made about our colleague by Alan Jones were not only cruel but wildly inaccurate! The reaction has been both just and heartwarming.” (sic)
While fellow sports journalist Matt Gottlieb said: “The idea that women know less about sport because of their gender is ludicrous. I’ve met plenty who’s knowledge exceeds their male counterparts. @bethknewman has more knowledge about the current state of #rugby in her pinky than Alan Jones does in his body.”
Really proud to be apart of the Australian rugby community today. Comments made about our colleague by Alan Jones were not only cruel but wildly inaccurate! The reaction has been both just and heartwarming.
— Natalie Yoannidis (@NatYoannidisFOX) August 31, 2018
It’s far from the first time that the 2GB presenter has been slammed for his critical, and often inappropriate, comments, as just last month he was branded “racist” after he used the n-word live on air, then refused to apologise for his use of offensive language.
Speaking about the Liberal leadership spill, he described Finance Minister Mathias Cormann as “he n***** in the woodpile” before saying: “I’m not going to yield to people who tell us that certain words in the language are forbidden.”
However, following huge public backlash, he took to Twitter to issue an apology, writing: “We all make mistakes. This morning on 2GB and 4BC I spoke about the covert actions of some political operatives in the current leadership challenges within the Liberal Party.
“I used an old and offensive figure of speech that I regret saying. People should be honest and forthright in their actions and that is not happening in the Liberal Party right now. I will have more to say on this tomorrow.”