Alan Jones praises Jacinda Ardern's response to controversial comments

Jacinda Ardern and Alan Jones.
Jacinda Ardern and Alan Jones. Photo credit: Getty

Alan Jones says his controversial comments about Jacinda Ardern were "clumsily presented" and has conceded that the Prime Minister responded "superbly and amusingly".

The Australian broadcaster caused a stir last week when he said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison should "shove a sock down [Ardern's] throat", after she criticised Australia's position on climate change.

But Jones has since backtracked on his comments.

"I made some comments last week as you're well aware, and in the haste of what you say in radio they were most probably clumsily presented," Jones said on Sky News Australia.

"My old man used to talk about 'putting a sock in it' and so on. I thought that was actually what I said."

He said he wrote to Ardern to apologise as soon as he realised his comment did not come out as he had hoped.

"Her office was in touch with me, they acknowledged they got the letter. They thanked me for the letter, it was a very personal thing," Jones said. 

He also addressed Ardern's reply to him, in which the PM made a dig at Australia losing the Bledisloe Cup.

"I don't have an opinion on every single person that says something about me, particularly given this is an Australian commentator - we have enough of our own to occupy my time," Ardern told the AM Show last week, before making a reference to Jones' time as coach of the Australian rugby team during the mid-1980s.

"I understand he used to be closely linked to the Wallabies, so let's just say that revenge is best served through a Bledisloe Cup."

Jones acknowledged Ardern's comment as a "clever response, given that we got hammered in the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday."

"I think that's a rather nice comment," he said, adding a small caveat in an attempt to defend his rugby honour. 

"Jacinda, we actually did win there in 1986, I have to tell you."

All in all, Jones said Ardern handled the situation "superbly and amusingly".

Climate change was top of the agenda as leaders met at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu.
Climate change was top of the agenda as leaders met at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu. Photo credit: AAP

Jones' original comments about Ardern came while she was in Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum. 

Australia "has to answer to the Pacific," she said as island nations urged Australia to do more in regards to climate change in the region. 

Jones reacted angrily to her comment, saying: "I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat."

He added: "She is just a joke this woman, an absolute and utter light-weight... These people are an absolute joke and Jacinda Ardern is the biggest joke."

Jones' comments faced a fierce backlash, both in Australia and around the world. 

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama came to Ardern's defence, writing on Twitter: "Easy to tell someone to shove a sock down a throat when you're sitting in the comfort of a studio. The people of the Pacific, forced to abandon their homes due to climate change, don't have that luxury. Try saying it to a Tuvaluan child pleading for help."

Almost 20 advertisers also pulled their support for Jones' Breakfast Show, though Jones' appeared unfazed by their departures, telling Nine News, "There will be others that take their place".

And despite the controversy, Jones has maintained he is not misogynistic.

"I really resent this notion that there's something misogynistic about all this and that I have a problem with women," he told Sky News Australia. 

"I'd stack my record up against that of anybody."



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