An ABC Enterprises decision not to print a tell-all biography on 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones has brought rumours about Jones’s alleged homosexuality into the open.
Mike Carlton used his Tuesday timeslot on rival station 2UE to allege the reason behind ABC Enterprises’ decision not to print the Chris Masters book Jonestown was based on accusations about Jones’s private life he believed it contained.
I believe it details a number of gay sexual encounters Jones was allegedly involved in, Carlton said, admitting he had not read the book.
Chris Masters told The Australian he would not comment on the content of the book, but said Carlton had definitely not had access to it. Jones, reported to be on holidays in the UK, had not made any comment about the book’s contents at the time of Sydney Star Observer‘s deadline.
The ABC claimed the decision was based on its concerns about the cost of a possible defamation case following the book’s publication.
ABC Enterprises released a brief media statement on Thursday 29 June on its decision not to proceed with the publication of the book, Jonestown.
In the statement, ABC Enterprises director Robyn Watts said ABC Enterprises had a clear responsibility to deliver a commercial return to the ABC. To proceed with publication will almost certainly result in a commercial loss which would be irresponsible.
Several media outlets have since suggested the decision was actually made by the ABC Board, keen to avoid a defamation action, a theory confirmed on the ABC’s Lateline on Tuesday.
According to the Lateline report, the ABC’s acting managing director Murray Green wrote a letter to staff confirming the board had appraised the book, and suggesting Jonestown could be subject to unrecoverable post-publication legal expenses.
Lateline reporter Stephen McDonell said the book had been edited, legalled, even a cover prepared.
On Monday night, Media Watch broadcast the content of a letter from lawyers acting on behalf of Alan Jones to the ABC, that included a threat of defamation proceedings over some of the book’s alleged content.
The materials we have seen are replete with false and inappropriate sexual innuendo, the letter read. They are defamatory and their publication is not defensible on any basis.
Masters told The Australian he had met with other potential publishers this week.