According to The Australian, the company’s national sales director Mark Noakes sent a memo to 2GB sales staff last Tuesday that referred to the boycott of advertisers following the radio veteran’s controversial comments about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier this year.
“From this Thursday Steve Price will be hosting Breakfast (along with John Stanley over Christmas) for the remainder of the year and over January,” the email stated, according to The Australian.
“Can we reapproach clients who have opted to not advertise in breakfast as a matter of urgency. Many thanks. PS: We are thinking about a ‘back to breakfast’ pack.”
But just one day later it was revealed Mr Noakes had been made redundant, with the company claiming he departed “with our best wishes and thanks”.
However, a Macquarie Media spokesperson told news.com.au there was no connection between the note and Mr Noakes’ departure.
“There is no link between the email and the redundancy,” the spokesperson said.
It comes after the Sydney Morning Herald reported last week that Subaru Australia had pulled a major ad campaign planned with the network after delaying it for months in the wake of the Ardern scandal.
The publication claimed “sources with knowledge of the sales discussions” at Macquarie Media alleged the advertising campaign had been planned for September before being pushed back to October, then November, and finally “cancelled altogether”.
It was alleged the campaign had been slated for several shows, and two sources told the Sydney Morning Herald it was worth around $1 million per year, although a third source said it had actually been “far south” of that sum.
A Subaru spokesman told news.com.au last week the company’s position remained unchanged from a previous statement made back in August when the story first broke.
“Subaru Australia does not advertise on the Alan Jones show or on the Macquarie Radio Network,” the spokesman said.
“We do not comment on commercial-in-confidence issues, including broadcaster and publisher negotiations.”
ALAN JONES’ SCANDAL
The controversy began in August, when the 2GB host attacked Ms Ardern on-air after she criticised Australia’s climate change policies.
The 78-year-old unleashed an extraordinary spray in response, labelling the respected leader a “complete clown”.
“She’s a clown, Jacinda Ardern; a complete clown,’’ Mr Jones said.
“I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat.’’
He went on to describe her as “a swallower” of the climate change “hoax” and a “joke”.
“She is a joke, this woman; an absolute and utter lightweight,” he said.
And additional audio aired on ABC’s Media Watch soon after revealed even more concerning comments made by the broadcaster.
In it, the audibly angry host can be heard saying: “This lightweight New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern is challenging Scott Morrison over climate change. Now I hope Scott Morrison gets tough here with a few backhanders … hasn’t got a clue this woman.”
Within hours, Mr Jones faced an onslaught of criticism from Aussies and international leaders alike.
Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama was one of the first to slam Mr Jones on Twitter, and former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also weighed in, posting: “Jones should also apologise to @jacindaardern for his latest misogynistic rant.”
Mr Jones apologised for the comments, but a slew of companies have since pulled their ads from Mr Jones’ show, with a boycott led by social media activist organisations including Mad F**ing Witches and Sleeping Giants.