Royal hoax DJs ‘will not return’ amid anger over death



In this undated supplied publicity photo 2 Day FM radio presenters Mel Greig, left, and Michael Christian pose. Greig and Christian during their radio program Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, impersonated Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales to dupe hospital staff into giving information on the condition of the former Kate Middleton who was suffering severe morning sickness. AP Photo/AAP Image, Southern Cross Austereo Sydney

SYDNEY — Two Australian radio presenters who duped a nurse at a London hospital which treated Prince William’s pregnant wife Catherine have been taken off air as they face public fury after the woman was found dead.

Media reports Friday said nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who had worked at the King Edward VII hospital in London for four years, had committed suicide while police said they were treating the death as unexplained.

Saldanha had accepted the hoax call from two radio presenters from Sydney’s 2Day FM pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and William’s father Prince Charles, before passing it onto a colleague who divulged details of Kate’s condition.

The radio station said Saturday the presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, “are both deeply shocked” over news of the nurse’s death.

“SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy,” 2Day FM and its owners Southern Cross Austereo said in a statement on the station’s Facebook page.

“Southern Cross Austereo and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world,” it said.

Soon after news of the nurse’s death broke, the radio station’s Facebook page was bombarded with thousands of comments, many attacking the presenters and calling for them to be sacked.

“Not so darn funny now is it? A British nurse is DEAD for the sake of a couple of cheap laughs. Shame on you!” wrote Kim Wilson.

More than 8,300 comments had hit the 2Day FM page by early Saturday, some saying Greig and Christian had blood on their hands and calling angrily for them to be dismissed.

“Hope you get your comeuppance and are looking long and hard at your actions and their consequences. Hope you’re both sacked and spend a very long long time looking for work,” wrote Alastair Drake Hardwick.

For some the incident had echoes of Prince William’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.

“One would think … the death of Princess Diana would have taught the media a lesson about invasion of privacy of the royal family, but I guess not,” said one commentator posting as Lora LB.

The news prompted wide coverage in Australia, where the prank initially divided the public, with some seeing it as “a bit of harmless fun” and others saying a line had been crossed and everyone had a right to privacy.

Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the death was a terrible tragedy.

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time,” a spokeswoman for Gillard said.

Greig and Christian apologised after an uproar in Britain over the hoax but the station initially milked the publicity as the “biggest royal prank ever”.

It has now removed the link to the hoax from its website and the presenters’ Twitter accounts have been suspended.

The radio station has been in the public eye in the past, notably in 2009 when two other presenters ran a segment in which a 14-year-old girl was given a lie detector test in which she revealed she had been raped.

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  • Darwin

    It always fascinates me how some media personalities would go the crass route thinking that they’re hip or cool, complete with pretentious American twang when in truth, they’re really just human pollution.

    • Jesse_Bruce_Pinkman

      The DJs are Australian and they were doing a pretentious English accent.

  • jpmd88

    I bet these 2 idiots did not expect something like this to happen.  Based from the article above they are not yet out of the job but only on hiatus. To let things cool off.  I think the station should have been more pronounced about the status of these 2 wankers.

  • riccisan

    mukhang pinoy nurse ang namatay ah, yari kayo pag nagkasakit kayo

  • regd

    Tragic! Too many unanswered questions. Death is unexplained, we wouldn’t know the real story. If she does commit suicide she has deep personal issues. People who are sane do not just go and take their own life. Stupid people pranks other people on a daily basis. Blaming the prankster for the dead is unfair. My in-laws prank me worst than this most of the time, I’m still alive.

    • batangpaslit

      It appears that you are a prankster yourself, hence, you defend your fellow pransker.
      If it is not fair to blame the prankster to for the death of their victim as you indicated, are you saying the victim is at fault because she was deceived?
      What a stupid reasoning.
      You are not just stupid, but your mind is warp. Your mind is warp because you have the temerity to defend the sick joke of your fellow prankster but blames the victim.
      Your case about your out-laws is altogether different. I do not give a hoot how your outlaws treats you. Perhaps, your outlaws have noticed long ago your stupid mind, hence, they find relish to fool you all the time.
      But the victim that you blame is responsible to her patients. She got duped by your fellow pranksters and got the blame for passing on the deceptive telephone call.
      Your conscience is seared.

    • Rene V

       the tragedy is that your outlaws prank you and you do not know why they are doing it to you.

  • batangpaslit

    Parang Filipino sounding name ang nurse?

    • Jesse_Bruce_Pinkman

      Jacintha Saldanha is an Indian nurse.

  • speedstream2

    A prank gone absolutely wrong. The price: a human life. The two prankster and the radio station should personally apologize to victim’s family and make amends.

  • ebj

    Those two were way out of line with their prank.  Tsk tsk.

  • Rene V

    nurse jacintha was just a good person trying to be good, really! and we heard these two buffoons supported by the station tried and were successful in producing a few laughs. however, this did not sit well with either nurse jacintha or her employers or rather nurse jacintha’s employers. the result played out. the royal family was violated, the hospital was humiliated… guess who there is to blame but the poor well intentioned nurse jacintha. she just wanted to live her life as a good person… or just a good nurse!

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