Advertisers flee as public slams Jones' remark

SOME of Australia's biggest businesses, including Telstra and the supermarket giants, have led an advertising exodus from Alan Jones' program amid a wave of public anger over the talkback host's remarks about the death of Julia Gillard's father.

As online petitions were flooded by thousands of supporters calling on 2GB sponsors to ditch their advertising and distance themselves from Mr Jones' program, major companies hastily announced they would no longer advertise with, or sponsor, the breakfast program.

A statement from Telstra said the communications giant advertised ''from time to time'' on the show but had suspended this advertising. ''We take matters like this very seriously in relation to public sentiment and the reputation of our brand,'' the statement said.

Woolworths, although not a current advertiser, acknowledged the huge public outcry, while Coles has cancelled planned ads on the show.

A Woolworths statement on Facebook said: ''From time to time we have had advertising during this program. However, this morning we have made a decision to suspend this advertising.''

Woolworths government relations manager Simon Berger was at the event, and reportedly donated a chaff bag jacket, which Mr Jones bought. The company said Mr Berger was there in a private capacity.

''Woolworths in no way supports the comments made at that function.''

Appliances and computer store Bing Lee also has pulled advertising, making an announcement on Twitter and Facebook: ''Bing Lee does not condone the comments made by Alan Jones and will be removing all advertising from his programs going forward.''

Mercedes-Benz Australia, which sponsored and advertised Jones' program, pulled its support and instructed individual dealers to do the same.

''We made the decision because the company has a set of values and the statement by Alan Jones clearly does not accord with that,'' spokesman David McCarthy said.

Challenger financial services, which advertised on the program, also pulled support, focusing on Mr Jones' apology which many people have deemed insincere.

''Unfortunately we don't feel that Alan's apology reflected an appreciation of the deeply hurtful nature of his comments,'' a company spokesman said.

Teamaker Dilmah, online bank ING Direct and the Australian International Motor Show said they were pulling their ads.

In a sign of the breadth of anger over Mr Jones' remarks, the anti-Coal Seam Gas movement - one of Mr Jones' passions - withdrew an invitation for him to speak at a CSG rally in northern New South Wales.

''To see a woman's efforts in any sphere of endeavour pilloried simply because she is a woman is despicable,'' said Michael McNamara from alliance Lock the Gate - Tweed.

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The story Advertisers flee as public slams Jones' remark first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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