Roundup: Australian radio host faces withdrawal of ad after comment on PM's late father

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Roundup: Australian radio host faces withdrawal of ad after comment on PM's late father

CANBERRA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- When Sydney radio talk show host Alan Jones told a Sydney University Liberal Club fund-raiser a fortnight ago that Prime Minster Julia Gillard's father "died of shame" because of her lies, he would not have expected that all the sponsors would withdraw from his show.

The Macquarie Radio Network which owes Jones' high-rating Sydney 2GB breakfast show announced Sunday it would be temporarily suspending all advertising on the show, after an "unprecedented focus" on the controversial shock jock through mainstream and social media. Jones confirmed the news in his program on Monday morning.

After his comments on Gillard's father was made known, Jones had immediately arranged a press conference to publicly apologize and made a further "unambiguous and unconditional" apology on air last Tuesday.

Despite his damage-control efforts, more than 85,000 people signed a petition last week calling for his sacking, while the Facebook page Destroy the Joint urged followers to write to advertisers and "destroy Alan's joint".

By Oct. 2, more than a dozen sponsors including Woolworths, Coles, Mercedes-Benz and ING Direct had canceled or suspended advertising on his program, estimated to make around 2 million Australian dollars (2.04 million U.S. dollars) a month for the radio network. By Oct. 5, the network's share price had dropped 14 percent.

Jenna Price, who set up the Facebook page Destroy the Joint, said: "We are thrilled with the reaction, but you can't think that this is going to fix the problem."

"I'm not a person who wants to sack Alan Jones. I want to re- educate Alan Jones," she told the Australian Associated Press on Sunday. Price launched the Facebook page about a month ago, following comments by Jones suggesting some female leaders were " destroying the joint".

After Jones' comments about Gillard's father were made public, the page urged followers to write to sponsors of Jones' show. Following a week-long campaign, the page told its supporters on Friday more than 11,000 people had helped to lobby 74 companies into withdrawing their support from Jones' show.

Jones called the campaign ""21st Century cyber bullying", claiming the threats had come from people who did not listen to 2GB.

The Australian Labor Party (ALP) said Monday it is "perfectly reasonable" for companies to make decisions on advertising based on social media campaigns and denies Jones has been the subject of an attack by "cyber bullies".

Backbencher Graham Perrett said Jones was "a deeply flawed individual" and the suspension of all advertisements on his program over a backlash from comments he made about Julia Gillard' s late father was deserved.

Former prime minister and Labor backbencher Kevin Rudd also said: "I think if Alan Jones has been dishing it out with a shovel against people he doesn't like for the last several decades then I am sure Alan Jones, and his radio station, can take it when the shovel is extended in reverse direction." Enditem

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