The Daily Mail Australia has obtained images of Alan Jones seemingly in blackface while coaching the Australian Rugby Team 40 years ago. You can read The Daily Mail’s full report HERE.
Jones was captured behind the scenes at a Wallabies team function impersonating 1920s vaudeville singer Al Jolson during the team’s 1986 tour of New Zealand in which the Aussies won the series 2-1.
B&T has contacted the Daily Mail to enquire where the images were sourced from and if monies were paid for them to be reproduced.
The 82-year-old Jones – who’s currently in France for the Rugby World Cup – has not commented on the report.
Image Credited to Daily Mail Australia: Alan Jones pictured in Blackface at a Wallabies event 1986.
According to the Daily Mail, the veteran broadcaster was the “headline act” in an intimate evening of entertainment and fancy dress put on by the touring squad.
Many of the biggest names in rugby were quick to jump to Jones’ defence, arguing that the performance was simply a part of a night of harmless fun.
“That’s what it was, completely harmless and good fun. If we turn this into something offensive, the world has gone crazy but that’s what it was,” said Australian former state and national representative rugby union player, Andrew Slack.
Blackface routines were common place through much of the 20th century, but in a modern context, the comedy routine is now considered offensive in most contexts.
“That would be a reasonably regular thing on tour in those days, that you’d have some sort of internal party, no one else involved, just the boys,” said Slack.
David Campese, the former Australian winger and fullback that Jones once dubbed the ‘Bradman of rugby’, remembered Jones’s performance as part of a routine skit night. Campese was disappointed that someone who might be linked to the Wallabies inner circle would have leaked the photographs now. “It’s very sad that this has happened,” he said. “But I think it’s society”.
This isn’t the first time Jones has found himself in hot water over racially charged comments and actions. In 2018, he was widely criticised for using the N-word live on his long-running 2GB program. “The n—- in the woodpile here, if one can use that expression – and I’m not going to yield to people who tell us that certain words in the language are forbidden,” he said.
Jones later apologised to listeners for using what he called an old and offensive figure of speech. “We all make mistakes,” he wrote in a social media post.
Jones retired from his 2GB program in May 2020 after 226 survey wins in the breakfast slot and 35 years in radio. The veteran now appears on the streaming service ADH TV.