December 12, 2023

Alan Jones claims journalists ‘concocted’ indecent assault allegations in attempt to destroy him

By Carrie Fellner
December 12, 2023 — 6.33pm
, register or subscribe to save articles for later.

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

Broadcaster Alan Jones has sent a legal letter threatening defamation proceedings against the Nine media empire, claiming journalists want to destroy his reputation because they resent his rise as one of Australia’s most prominent commentators.

The concerns notice was sent on Tuesday afternoon to Bevan Shields, the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, Patrick Elligett, the editor of The Age, and Kate McClymont, the Herald’s chief investigative reporter. The two mastheads are owned by Nine.

Alan Jones has threatened legal action over the investigation.Credit: Getty

A concerns notice is the first step towards commencing defamation proceedings but does not institute proceedings.

The letter follows an investigation by the Herald and The Age which revealed the high-profile radio star allegedly used his position of power to prey on young men, indecently assaulting, groping or inappropriately touching them without their consent.

Jones has denied the allegations.

The concerns notice, sent by lawyer Mark O’Brien, demanded the articles be removed from online and the publication of a front-page apology. It also said Jones should be paid compensation in addition to his legal costs.

“The allegations are false and have no basis in fact,” O’Brien said.

“Over many years, certain journalists employed by Nine (formerly Fairfax) newspapers have been resentful of our client’s prominence as a commentator on many political and cultural issues, and the malicious and concocted allegations giving rise to the imputations constitute a concerted attempt to destroy our client’s reputation.”

Tory Maguire, the executive editor of the Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WAToday, said in a statement: “We stand by Kate McClymont’s diligent and thorough reporting on this matter, and stand ready to defend this important public interest journalism on all fronts.”


The articles canvassed the claims made by six men who allege they were targeted by the former talkback star.


A former 2GB employee alleged Jones would grope his penis while he was driving him from the networks Pyrmont studios to the broadcaster’s palatial apartment in Circular Quay. “What he did to me was a criminal offence. He cannot die without people knowing what he’s done,” the former employee said.

Late businessman Alexander Hartman also made allegations to four journalists he was preyed on by Jones. Marcus Schmidt was 26 when Jones allegedly groped his penis while he was driving. Odin Childs alleged a drunk Jones fondled his penis without consent when he was 22 and working as a waiter at a South Coast restaurant. A fifth man, an aspiring musician, described being “scared shitless” when Jones allegedly pounced on him and began kissing him.

The investigation also on Monday revealed that police investigated a 2017 complaint by a schoolboy who alleged Jones indecently assaulted him at the broadcaster’s sprawling Southern Highlands estate.

Two specialist detectives later met the schoolboy and his principal at his high school in Wollongong, south of Sydney.


The detectives later came to his house, where he provided a statement alleging he had just turned 17 when he was invited to spend a weekend at Jones’ Fitzroy Falls property in January 2017.

At the time, Jones was the top-rating broadcaster on 2GB and had taken an interest in and was financially assisting the schoolboy and his mother as they battled numerous difficulties, including the death of the schoolboy’s sister, which was the subject of some publicity.

The schoolboy alleges he and Jones, who was 75 at the time, watched a movie at the luxurious rural property before Jones passionately kissed him on the lips and placed his left hand on the schoolboy’s buttocks. He initially froze, then pushed Jones away. He said he didn’t make a scene because of anxiety that Jones might withdraw support for his family if he complained.

He told the police in writing that he went to the bathroom “with my loofah and soap and began scrubbing my mouth, inside and out, as much as I could”.

The police complaint was not progressed at the time.

In the years since, one of the officers – who now holds the rank of inspector – has continued to counsel and support the family. Another detective involved in the matter told this masthead that the then schoolboy was “very credible”. The detective also said that because Jones was such a high-profile person, “head office wanted a briefing straight away”.

The concerns notice sent by Jones’ lawyers on Tuesday said the articles contained “gravely serious” imputations of criminal conduct by the broadcaster.

It noted Jones had been contacted by many friends and acquaintances expressing concern over the allegations.

“The imputations … have caused our client great anxiety and distress, and have caused immense harm to him, both personally and professionally,” the letter said.

Silk Matthew Richardson, SC, has been briefed to act in the matter alongside O’Brien.

Start the day with a summary of the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up for our Morning Edition newsletter.

Carrie Fellner is an investigative reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.Connect via Twitter or email.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.