Lawyers acting on behalf of Alan Jones have taken the first steps in filing defamation proceedings against Nine Newspapers and leading investigative journalist Kate McClymont.
Please note: This article discusses themes of sexual assault that may be distressing to some readers.
Yesterday, The Sydney Morning Herald released the findings of an investigation into Jones. The investigation revealed accusations against the former radio broadcaster that allege he abused his position of power to indecently assault four young men during his time working on 2GB’s high-profile breakfast show. Jones has denied the allegations.
Mark O’Brien Legal released a statement on Thursday revealing Jones’ intentions in the wake of the allegations and stated that the former broadcaster would be providing no further comment at this time. “In the short time available since publication we have obtained substantial factual information which contradicts and refutes the alleged pattern of conduct by Mr Jones,” they said. “We have retained Senior Counsel and have instructions to immediately serve a Concerns Notice under Section 12A of the Defamation Act as the first step in the commencement of defamation proceedings”.
In response to the statement from Mark O’Brien Legal, Tory Maguire, executive editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, defended the investigation. “We stand by Kate McClymont’s diligent and thorough reporting on this matter and commend the bravery of the men who have come forward to tell their difficult stories,” Maguire said.
Support for the alleged victims has also come from other branches of the Nine Entertainment Company. On his morning program yesterday, renowned broadcaster Ray Hadley told listeners that the man who had previously worked on Jones’ show, unpacked details of his experience with the broadcaster. Hadley allegedly offered to speak with 2GB management at the time, but the man didn’t want to lodge a complaint and swore him to secrecy.
“I sat silently as he went through the allegations … interrupted only by his tears as he tried to compose himself. It was a very emotional conversation for both of us,” Hadley said. “The behaviour he was alleging was unwanted sexual advances”.
One of the men who made the allegations against Jones, Brad Webster (who has used an alias to avoid being permanently linked with Jones’), has described feeling “sick to the stomach” after Jones’ denial of the allegations made against him. “I stand by my claims. I’m not seeking compensation or further attention” said Webster. “I simply told the truth; a truth that has been an extreme burden on me for many years. He knows what happened – simple as that”.
Jones is famous for his strong and often controversial opinions. He was a significant name in Australian talk-back radio from starting on 2UE in 1985 to his retirement from 2GB in 2020. At the time of his retirement, Jones cited ill health as the reason for his leaving. However, many news outlets reported that the change was a forced resignation in response to negative comments about former NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. From 2013, Jones also appeared on Sky News’ Jones & Co but in 2021 his contract was not renewed.
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