Alan Jones is suing public broadcaster SBS for defamation over a television segment which he claims “greatly injured” his reputation by wrongly painting him as a paedophile, a racist, a misogynist and a liar.
The veteran radio presenter and Sky News host is taking the legal action in response to a segment on The Feed on May 12.
It was broadcast shortly after Jones announced he would retire from radio for health reasons, The Feed broadcast an episode with a “tribute” mocking his career.
In it presenter Alex Lee said Jones “made a career out of bullying people”, “gleefully used racial slurs” and “spread lies and fake news”.
“Alan Jones spoke to the fears of every xenophobe and misogynist in the country,” Lee said.
“He secretly took money from companies to spruik their products on air, was arrested once, and sued for defamation more times than I can count. Oh, and he was on the radio for a bit.”
Lee also claimed Jones had “undermined” the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and overly criticised female politicians. She also alleged he had written a love letter to a school student.
The episode was later published online on catch-up platform SBS On Demand, and on various social media pages. It has now been taken down.
In documents filed in the Federal Court last week, Jones’ lawyers Sue Chrysanthou SC and Kieran Smark SC argued the broadcast contained 10 defamatory claims about their client, including that he “achieved his success as a broadcaster by habitually seeking to intimidate vulnerable people”.
In the document, seen by news.com.au, the lawyers wrote that the broadcast wrongly suggested Jones was a “paedophile” by claiming he had written a love letter to a schoolboy.
They said the report wrongly claimed Jones “sought to incite racial violence” in the week leading up to the Cronulla riots, “was a racist” for criticising Muslims and Aboriginal people, “was a misogynist” for seeking out female politicians for criticism, and “was a liar” in that he lied to the public about climate change.
They said SBS made “over-sensationalised” allegations made against Jones “greatly injured” his reputation and SBS had made no attempt to give him the right of reply before the clip aired.
“The applicant has been greatly injured in his business, personal and professional reputation and has been and will be brought into public disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt,” the barristers wrote in the document.
“In circumstances where the nature of the material, being the making of seriously defamatory statements alleging criminality … were such that the allegations should have been put to the applicant so that he could respond to and deny the allegations.”
Jones is seeking damages including aggravated damages, an order permanently restraining SBS and Ms Lee from repeating the claims, an order that the material be taken down, and costs.
SBS has not yet filed any documents in the case and it has yet to comment publicly on the case.