Sponsors pull ads after Gillard death jibe

Alan Jones admits that he 'got it wrong'. Photo / Getty Images
Alan Jones admits that he 'got it wrong'. Photo / Getty Images

Alan Jones's comments about the prime minister's father are costing his radio station dearly, with major firms pulling advertising from his show.

The veteran broadcaster's comments that Julia Gillard's father "died of shame" because of her "lies" also prompted two regional radio stations to discontinue his networked show.

By midday today, more than 17,000 people had signed up to an online campaign calling for Jones to be sacked and urging companies to boycott his show.

His radio station, 2GB, has removed a list of sponsors from its website in a bid to limit damage.

Jones on Sunday publicly apologised for using his speech to a Sydney University Liberal Club fundraiser to make the comments about Ms Gillard and her father.

John Gillard died last month aged 83 after a battle with illness.

Jones's comments, published on Sunday, sparked outrage on social media and were swiftly condemned by politicians on all sides.

Today, Woolworths, Mercedes Benz and financial services group Challenger announced they were pulling advertising and sponsorship from Jones's breakfast program.

Freedom Furniture had earlier announced it would no longer advertise on the show.

Woolworths posted on its Facebook site that it had decided to suspend advertising and in no way supported the comments by Jones.

The food retailer also responded to reports that Woolworths community relations manager Simon Berger had donated a chaff bag jacket that was bought by Mr Jones at Liberal Party function.

The jacket, a reference to Jones's controversial 2011 suggestion that Ms Gillard should be stuffed in a chaff bag and thrown into the sea, was auctioned during the fundraiser.

"We've acknowledged that a staff member, in a private capacity, attended the Young Liberals function where Mr Jones made some offensive comments about the prime minister," Woolworths said.

Challenger said it had pulled its sponsorship of Jones's show.

"Challenger does not feel the apology made by Alan Jones reflects the gravity of the offensiveness of the comments," a company spokesman said in a statement.

Mercedes-Benz Australia instructed its dealers to cease advertising on Jones's show.

Corporate communications manager David McCarthy told AAP the company had withdrawn advertising from the show because of Jones's "inappropriate comments".

"We don't associate our brand with that," he said.

Also on Monday, regional radio station 2QN, based in Deniliquin in the NSW Riverina, and Albury station 2AY discontinued their broadcasts of Jones's show following negative feedback from listeners.

The comments by Jones, who has vigorously campaigned against coal seam gas (CSG) development in NSW, also led to his dumping as a speaker at an anti-CSG concert in northern NSW.

Michael McNamara, an organiser of the Rock the Gate Northern Rivers concert, said threats had been made to boycott the event if it was attended by Jones.

It was not the threats that prompted the withdrawal of the invitation but Jones' "abhorrent" comments, Mr McNamara said in a statement.

Two regional radio stations, 2AY and 2QN, have also dumped the Alan Jones show.

The Border Mail reported that Riverina station 2QN, in Deniliquin, and Albury radio station 2AY have scrapped the show after calls from upset listeners.

Jones's usual highlights show on 2AY from noon to 1pm has been replaced with the Easy Listening Lunch.

Station head Mark Taylor said the listener feedback made the decision an easy one which he would not revisit.

- AAP

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