The Sydney Morning Herald has published a major investigation from journalist Kate McClymont that carries multiple allegations against broadcaster Alan Jones during his radio career. Jones hosted breakfast at 2UE for many years before switching stations at 2GB where he finished his breakfast career in 2020.
Both 2GB and The Sydney Morning Herald are part of the Nine Entertainment group of companies.
The Sydney Morning Herald features the story on its front cover and across four pages inside. The front page headline is “‘He’d go the grope’: Alan Jones accused of indecently assaulting young men”.
The Sydney news brand didn’t publish the front page feature online until 5am today and it was quickly picked up across other media.
Both Seven and Nine covered the allegations at the start of their respective breakfast shows Sunrise and Today.
The story was absent from the 2GB news at 5.30am. It was later the lead item on 2GB news at 6am.
Current 2GB breakfast host, and the man who replaced Alan Jones in the timeslot, Ben Fordham didn’t mention the Jones story until after the 6am 2GB news.
Fordham said the program had reached out to Jones and offered him the chance to appear on the station today to answer the McClymont claims.
Fordham said: “It’s going to be a very challenging story for a lot of people to listen to this morning as you know Alan sat in this chair at 2GB for close to 20 years and before that at 2UE. I know a lot of people have followed him since the beginning of 2UE.
“I also want to state that the claims made in the story today are denied by Alan Jones. The Kate MyClymont story says that for decades Jones was one of the most influential and feared figures in the country. [Continues reading from the report] A major investigation can now reveal allegations that Alan Jones used his position of power to prey on a number of young men – indecently assaulting them, groping or inappropriately touching them without their consent.
“There is a lot of detail in the story…it is a long one. In response to detailed questions sent to Alan Jones, the law firm Mark O’Brien Legal said in a statement: ‘Our client denies ever having decently assaulted the persons referred to in your letter and your suggestion that he has is scandalous, grossly offensive and seriously defamatory of him.’ ”
Later in his Thursday morning program, Ben Fordham addressed the allegations in more detail. He repeated the news that 2GB had reached out to Alan Jones to comment on the allegations “and tell his side of the story”. But Fordham didn’t detail if the program had received a response to the inquiry. Fordham then quoted again the denial Jones’ lawyer supplied The Sydney Morning Herald.
Fordham said: “Alan knows better than anyone we don’t shy away from challenging topics. That’s why we are talking about this case here and now. The story that has been published today doesn’t just impact Alan Jones. It also impacts a number of people who made allegations against him including the former staffer from 2GB.”
Fordham then detailed some of the allegations published in The Sydney Morning Herald. He then added: “As I said, this is not an easy topic for us to cover at 2GB. There are serious allegations involving someone who called this place home for nearly 20 years. But as Alan knows better than anyone we don’t hide around here from tough topics. The allegations have come from multiple people including one who worked here for many years. But they have not been proven. They are denied by Alan Jones. You would have heard me say this many, many times on this program. And I’ll say it again now. The accused is innocent until proven otherwise.”
Fordham then again read the denial made to The Sydney Morning Herald by Alan Jones’ lawyer.
Former 2GB producers spoke to The Herald about Alan Jones
Allegations from former 2GB staff include:
• A former 2GB employee, who alleges he was repeatedly indecently assaulted by Jones, said: “If I went to the police, Jones could be charged. What he did to me was a criminal offence. He cannot die without people knowing what he’s done.”
• One [former 2GB producer’s] job was to drive Jones home from 2GB’s Pyrmont studios to his palatial apartment in the Circular Quay building dubbed The Toaster.
“During those 10 minutes, it would be wandering hands and then it just gradually became him grabbing my dick. And he would go for it,” said Webster, demonstrating the vigorous rubbing of his penis. “It was horrible.”
How Alan Jones and Nine Entertainment parted ways
McClymont includes detail of how Nine Entertainment “forced out” Jones not long after taking ownership of 2GB in late 2019:
In May 2020, Jones announced his retirement from 2GB on doctor’s advice. Behind the scenes, Jones was being forced out on commercial grounds.
Nine Entertainment (the owner of this masthead) had finalised the ownership of the Macquarie Radio Network, which included 2GB, in late 2019. Nine was alarmed at the estimated $20 million advertising loss following an angry tirade by Jones about then New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern. Major advertisers fled in droves after Jones told his audience in August 2019 that then prime minister Scott Morrison should “shove a sock down her throat” and he hoped Morrison “gets tough here with a few backhanders”.
For many, it brought back Jones’ extraordinary 2012 attack on Julia Gillard in which Jones called for Australia’s first female prime minister to be put in a “chaff bag” and dumped at sea.
Previous missteps had included a tribunal finding that Jones and 2GB in 2009 had incited hatred and vilified Lebanese Muslims, with Jones calling them “vermin” and “mongrels” during the 2005 Cronulla riots.
A decade earlier, an inquiry found Jones had been involved in “cash for comment”, taking money from big companies to promote their services, without disclosing to his listeners he’d been paid to do so.
His reckless bullying campaign against Queensland’s Wagner family had resulted in one of the largest defamation payouts in Australian history. In 2018, the Wagner brothers were awarded $3.7 million in damages, plus millions more for their legal costs, after Jones repeatedly falsely accused them of being responsible for a dozen deaths in the 2011 Grantham floods.
On Jones’ last day on radio, political leaders and sports stars fell over themselves to bid the shock jock a hearty farewell.