A Change.Org petition to save the Sydney Opera House from becoming a racing billboard has gathered 40,000 signatures in two days, after premier Gladys Berejiklian caved in to pressure from 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones to allow advertising on its iconic sails.

On Friday of this week, Jones threw an almighty tantrum during an interview with Opera House CEO Louise Herron, after she refused a request from Racing NSW to allow horses’ names, numbers and colours to be projected onto the building as promotion for the Everest Cup.

Jones spat “you don’t own the Opera House, we own it” and then called for her to be fired, before threatening to ring up Berejiklian and complain. It’s not clear what happened after, but a short time later, the premier had overruled Herron and allowed Racing NSW its request.

Since then, there has been significant outcry about the decision, with Willy Hall – the son of architect Peter Hall, who completed the Sydney Opera House – saying his dad would be “sickened” to see advertising projected onto the “iconic masterpiece.”

A widely-circulating Change.Org petition reads:

“Alan Jones and his Gambling mates at Racing NSW want to turn the Opera House into their own promotional billboard. They’ve even called for the sacking of the Opera House manager who told them where to get off. Let’s remind Alan that the Opera House truly does belong to everyone, by supporting Louise Herron’s staunch defence of one of our City and Country’s few instantly recognisable heritage landmarks.”

If you want, you can add your signature to it here.

Earlier today, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that two of Alan Jones’ business partners have horses in the race, while a horse he part-owns  was also in contention for a spot.

Image: Getty Images / James D Morgan