Veteran radio broadcaster Alan Jones was forced into retirement by Nine bosses and no longer had the support of the board, inside sources claim.
The bombshell revelations come after the 2GB morning radio host, 79, announced his shock retirement last week after 35 years on the airwaves, citing advice from doctors.
Jones insisted it was his decision to step away from radio halfway through his $8 million two year contract due to health reasons.
But sources claim Jones’ departure has been in the pipeline at Nine for several months following a massive fallout from advertisers and public backlash over his controversial comments about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last year.
His comments have cost Nine an estimated $20 million.
It’s understood the decision was made after Nine Radio boss Tom Malone visited Jones at his Fitzroy Falls property earlier this month, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
Jones took a week off before returning to the work last Monday, when he told his long-serving team he would finish up at the end of this month.
Both Jones and Nine insist the broadcaster is leaving on his terms.
‘It was Alan who invited me down to his farm for lunch,’ Mr Malone told the publication.
‘We were able to facilitate Alan’s request to stand down due to health reasons.’
Nine acquired 2GB shortly after Jones faced widespread public backlash last August when he called Ms Ardern a ‘çomplete clown’ and urged Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison live on air to ‘shove a sock down’ her throat in response to her statements on climate change.
Jones later wrote to Ms Ardern to unconditionally apologise for the public slur.
‘Prime Minister, I would like to assure you that I did not intend to suggest any violence towards you,’ he wrote in an email sent to Ms Ardern.
Jones also issued a publicly apology on air while his then-employer Macquarie Radio warned he would be sacked if similar comments were made again.
More than 100 advertisers, including Coles, Big W, Commonwealth Bank, McDonald’s and Bunnings cancelled their spending with 2GB in the wake of the saga, which reportedly cost an estimated $80,000 a day in lost revenue.
Jones’ comments have cost Nine an estimated $20 million and affected the company’s ability to lure lucrative advertising deals.
Sources claim Jones agreed to walk away on three strict conditions- that he would be paid out the rest of his contact, his team would be paid out or offered new jobs, and that his vacancy wouldn’t be filled by 2GB colleague Ray Hadley, with whom he has a long ongoing feud with.
Jones will be replaced by popular broadcaster Ben Fordham.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Mr Malone and Nine for comment but was told no one was available.
Jones will now focus on his Sky News commitments when he finishes up at 2GB at the end of May.
‘We are living in the world of Coronavirus. The most repeated statement we hear is ‘we must listen to the experts’. Well, the experts are telling me in no uncertain terms, and not for the first time I might add, ‘continuing with the present workload is seriously detrimental to your health,’ he told 2GB listeners on Tuesday.
‘I have listened to the experts and I am taking this opportunity to indicate to my radio family that I will be retiring from radio at the end of this month.’