Alan Jones has accused journalists of wanting to destroy his reputation in a concerns notice letter threatening defamation proceedings against the Nine media corporation.
Please note: This article discusses themes of sexual assault that may be distressing to some readers.
The letter, sent to Bevan Shields, the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, Patrick Elligett, the editor of The Age, and Kate McClymont, the Herald’s chief investigative reporter, accuses the journalists of working to destroy Jones’ reputation as they resent his rise as one of Australia’s most prominent commentators.
A concerns notice is the first step towards commencing defamation proceedings but does not institute proceedings. The letter follows an investigation published by The Sydney Morning Herald last week that revealed accusations that the broadcaster allegedly used his position of power to prey on young men – indecently assaulting them without consent. Jones has vehemently denied the allegations.
The letter was sent by Mark O’Brien, a legal representative for Jones. Within, was demanded that the articles be removed online and that a front-page apology be published. It also said Jones should be paid compensation in addition to his legal costs.
“The allegations are false and have no basis,” O’Brien said. “Over many years, certain journalists employed by Nine (formerly Fairfax) newspapers have been resentful of our client’s prominence as a commentator on many political and cultural issues, and the malicious and concocted allegations giving rise to the imputations constitute a concerted attempt to destroy our client’s reputation”.
In the face of mass backlash from Jones, Nine has backed McClymont’s investigation. “We stand by Kate McClymont’s diligent and thorough reporting on this matter and stand ready to defend this important public interest journalism on all fronts,” Tory Maguire, the executive editor of the Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WAToday, said in a statement on the matter.
Jones has reportedly been contacted by many friends and acquaintances expressing concern over the allegations. “The imputations … have caused our client great anxiety and distress and have caused immense harm to him, both personally and professionally,” the letter said.
The key allegations, which Jones strongly denies, come from a former 2GB employee, Brad Webster (alias), who has accused Jones of indecent assault. “If I went to the police, Jones could be charged… He cannot die without people knowing what he’s done”.
Webster is not the first to accuse Jones of indecent assault. Alexander Hartman, a late businessman, also commented to four separate journalists before his death. In the remarks, he outlined his desire for justice. “I was his prey … I know I am not the only one, and this will come out somehow,” Hartman said. “He forces himself on young men and uses his power in a predatory way”.
Another man claimed that a drunk Jones assaulted him while he was working as a server in a restaurant. “He didn’t look around to see if someone was watching. He just went straight for my penis”. An aspiring musician also described how he was “scared shitless” when Jones allegedly pounced on him and began kissing him.
On Monday it was revealed that two detectives met with schoolboy Neil Ogden (alias) and his principal at his school in Wollongong, south of Sydney back in 2017 after Jones, who was 75 at the time, allegedly passionately kissed the 17-year-old and placed a hand on Ogden’s buttocks whilst they were watching a film.
Jones has denied all allegations against him and has not yet launched any formal legal proceedings.
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