HomeAFPProminent Australian conservative Alan Jones loses TV show

Prominent Australian conservative Alan Jones loses TV show

Alan Jones, one of Australia’s most powerful and controversial conservative commentators, announced his departure from Sky News Thursday after years at the heart of political debate Down Under.

For more than 30 years, Jones has been Australia’s answer to Fox News anchors Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson — wielding his direct line to conservative prime ministers like a cudgel and relentlessly attacking his leftist opponents.

The 80-year-old told fans in a lengthy Facebook post that he was leaving Sky News, claiming his content was no longer being published online because the company “felt under threat from being cancelled”.

“Management at Sky News have indicated to me that they will not renew my contract, which ends on November 30,” he said.

Jones added that he was offered the chance to appear once a week on a streaming platform.

Sky News, a channel owned by Australian-born billionaire and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, said Jones had declined a new role, without providing details of the offer.

The channel said Jones’ last show would be broadcast Thursday.

Jones, who repeatedly tried and failed to win elected office, left his influential Sydney radio show at 2GB last year following revolts by advertisers over his racially charged language and seeming suggestions of violence against New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

His hardline conservatism — which included attacks on women politicians — had sat increasingly uneasily with advertisers keen to pitch their products to a younger demographic.

In August, YouTube temporarily cut Sky News Australia off from its 1.87 million subscribers, removing a misleading video by Jones about Covid-19 and issuing “a strike” against the channel, the first step in a series of measures that can lead to a permanent ban.

And an Australian tribunal found that Jones in 2005 had incited hatred of Lebanese Australians ahead of the worst racially charged violence in the country’s history at Sydney’s Cronulla beach.

Earlier this year, Jones — a former international rugby coach — also lost his regular column with Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, although he remains an occasional rugby commentator for the Australian. Both papers are owned by Murdoch.

Rival commentator and ex Wallaby rugby international Peter FitzSimons said news of Jones’ departure was “a seriously great day for the Australian media landscape.”

“The fact that Alan Jones can no longer get a gig on radio, in the press, or on television means we will all be spared his poison infiltrating the body politic.”

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