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UPDATING: An apology: but not from Kyle Sandilands

Kyle and Jackie O

This story is fast moving but significant. And it keeps getting bigger.

The latest installment?

A further seven brands have pulled their sponsorship of the Kyle & Jackie O show, bringing the total to 23.

American Express, Ford, Lexus, Blackberry, Olympus, Coles Online and Piazza D’or announced today they will pull their advertising. Blackberry went one further – withdrawing “all current support from Austereo until further notice”.

Last night, an official statement from Kyle Sandilands’ main employer, Southern Cross Austereo. In the statement, Chief Executive Officer Rhys Holleran said:

“Kyle speaks his mind, however in this case we recognise that his opinions have caused offence and sincerely apologise”.

“Southern Cross Austereo does not condone his sentiments, is addressing issues with Kyle personally and assessing internal systems and processes.

“We value our listeners and clients dearly and hold the utmost respect for their opinions and actions.”

If you’re late to this story or looking for a full background to it, this is what’s been happening:

LATEST (MONDAY, NOV 28): The number of sponsors who have pulled dollars from the Kyle and Jackie O Show (some the entire Austero network) is now at least 23. The latest sponsors to pull funding are CUA (from the entire Austero network), Groupon (all of Austero), Clean & Clear (all of Austero), Commonwealth Bank and Libra (the show only).

Companies which said they would withdraw funding but still appeared in ad slots this morning were Volkswagen, Myer, GIO and Defence Housing Australia.

According to advertising measurement company AirCheck, the Kyle and Jackie O Show has lost 60 per cent of its advertising support since the scandal broke out.

The change.org petition has more than 24,000 signatures.

MONDAY NIGHT: Kyle & Jackie’ O’s Night With The Stars premieres on Network 7.

News Limited journalist Alison Stephenson wrote a story about the 90-minute show, which focused on negative viewer comments surrounding the show – which were mostly broadcast via Twitter.  The story was published before TV ratings were released publicly at 8:30am on Tuesday as they are each day for TV. Here’s a snippet of what she wrote:

VIDEO killed the radio star and shock jocks Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O may be the latest airwave talent to fall victim to the small screen.

Within minutes of the radio duo’s highly anticipated program A Night With The Stars going to air, fans had already taken to Twitter to pronounce the 90-minute special “awkward” and a “disaster.”

“I gave it five minutes,” tweeted Kate Fox. “That’s all the time I can afford to spare on #KyleAndJackieO before my brain implodes.”

Diba Nikanpour agreed: “After watching 3 seconds of the disaster that is the #kyleandjackieO show. I have come to my senses and regained focus.”

While Abby Tonkin also wrote the program off as a fail: “This #kyleandjackieo special is seriously awkward viewing. Like watching a car crash.”

TUESDAY MORNING: Kyle hits back. At 6am when his morning show went to air, he attacked Stephenson pretty viciously. This is what he said:

“You’re a piece of shit. This low thing, Alison Stephenson, deputy editor of news.com.au online. You’re supposed to be impartial, you little troll…. You’re a bullshit artist, girl. You should be fired from your job… Watch your mouth or I’ll hunt you down.” He also called Ms Stephenson a “fat bitter thing” and attacked her hairstyle and breast size.

The audio is here if you want to hear it yourself.

But here’s the thing. Later on Tuesday, the ratings from Kyle & Jackie O’s Night with the Stars were released. And they weren’t pretty.

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The numbers showed that during the 90-minute program the audience dropped from more than 1.4m to just 200,000.

WEDNESDAY: The people aren’t happy. Major sponsors of the Kyle and Jackie O show – like Holden and The Good Guys – start to pull their sponsorship of the show with most reasoning that they do not condone what Sandilands said. This this petition to have the radio program sponsors pull their advertising was doing the rounds.

News.com.au editor David Penberthy wrote an opinion piece that’s also worth a read. In it he said:

“It isn’t really a bombshell observation, but Kyle Sandilands is a dead-set, rolled-gold, card-carrying dickhead.It is with some reluctance that I burst into print about this dopey little grub. His entire marketing strategy – to presuppose a level of intellect which renders him capable of crafting a strategy for anything – is to create outrage and feed off it.”

“Journalists have to expect a degree of flak – we often write things which are critical and even inflammatory – but what Ali wrote in no way justifies the nuclear nature of his reaction, nor his (typical) decision to go so grubby and personal with his rank remarks about her breasts and her hair.”

Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis had this to say, according to The Australian:

“…Kate Ellis has also weighed in, accusing Sandilands of a “sustained pattern” of offensive attacks on women and urging listeners to switch him off.

“All Australians, including women, are entitled to be treated with respect at home, in the workplace and in the community,” she said.

And here’s what Mia tweeted in response to it all:

This open letter to Jackie O, from blogger Louisa Clare, is pretty powerful and adresses a lot of the questions people are asking of Kyle’s co-host. In her letter, Louisa says:

I could never understand why you wanted to work with such jerks, nor how your show stayed on air after your interviewed a 14 year old girl about her sexual experiences. It was bad enough you sat by and let that happen, but that you did nothing when you were told that she had been raped and Kyle proceeded to ask “so that’s the only experience you’ve had?” was truly disgusting. I do wonder if you have a new appreciation for just how terrible that was now that you’re a mother…

But I get it. If you get ratings, then you get to stay on air.

THURSDAY: At 6am, Sandilands came on air. Many anticipated an apology. What they got was this:

He said he was ‘anything but a woman hater’ and his co-host Jackie O backed him up saying: “”I know for a fact that you treat women with nothing but the most respect,” Jackie said. “Your biggest fault is you don’t like anyone criticising you because then you fight back.” Kyle went on to say: “I went over the top because I thought it was a personal attack on me. I never, ever, dish out first. I only ever retaliate to someone else’s crazy allegations. And the call that I only ever attack female journalists is not true. I’ll attack any journalist that attacks me.

By Thursday night, at least 11 sponsors – Mazda, Telstra, Crazy John’s, Harvey Norman, Holden, retail giant The Good Guys, Blackmores, Fantastic Furniture, Vodafone and Medibank – had pulled their sponsorship of the Kyle & Jackie O show, effective immediately.

FRIDAY: The Federal Government was the last to join that long list of advertisers to pull their sponsorship of the show.

The Federal Department of Finance issued a statement which said the government’s media placement agency, Universal McCann, had ”immediately removed all booked Australian government advertising activity scheduled in any radio program in which Kyle Sandilands was host”. It said: “Given the nature of Mr Sandilands’ comments, program content featuring him … was viewed as inappropriate to carry (government) advertising.”

So what next for Kyle Sandilands and the Kyle & Jackie O show? This is Mia’s prediction:

What do you think? Do you think Southern Cross Austereo should dump Sandilands altogether? And what about Jackie O’s role in all of this?

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