Australian DJs 'heartbroken' over Kate nurse suicide - video

Dec 10, 2012

Tearful presenters apologise to Saldanha family – but why did 2Day FM broadcast without permission?

TWO Australian DJs who made a prank call to the London hospital that was caring for Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, said today they were "shattered, gutted [and] heartbroken" following the apparent suicide of the nurse who took their call.

Giving their first interviews since the death of Jacintha Saldanha on Friday, Michael Christian and Mel Greig of Sydney radio station 2Day FM both broke down in tears as they spoke about their regret at the call and apologised to the nurse's family.

In one interview with A Current Affair on Channel 9, Greig, who had tears streaming down her face, said: "I've thought about it a million times. I want to reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say 'Sorry'. I hope they're OK. I really do."

The interviewer, Tracey Grimshaw, described the DJs as "pretty shattered people". And the Daily Mail reported that they are "both receiving counselling in case they attempt self harm".

The pair rang the King Edward VII hospital in London last Wednesday pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles and asked for an update on the duchess's condition. Saldanha took the call and put them through to another nurse, still unnamed, who was treating the duchess. The second nurse discussed the duchess's condition, unaware she was being duped.

The DJs said they never expected to get past the switchboard and were astonished to be put through.

Rhys Holleran, chief executive of 2Day FM's parent company, Southern Cross Austereo, now claims the station tried several times last week to contact the hospital before broadcasting the tape of the call.

He did not explain why the station went ahead and broadcast the prank call given that Australian guidelines state clearly that "a station must not broadcast the words of an identifiable person unless they have been informed in advance that the recording may go to air." As The Guardian explains: "If someone is unaware they are being recorded, the interviewee must grant consent for it to be played, prior to anything being broadcast."

Despite the fact that it now appears the station broke that rule, there has been support for the two DJs from some members of the Australian media. Michael Idato of the Sydney Morning Herald said: "Greig and Christian need to say their piece. And as a civilised society we need to forgive, and move on.

"Not just so that we (and they) can learn from their mistakes, but more importantly, so that the family of Jacintha Saldanha can bury a beloved daughter without the spectre of a lynch mob baying for blood over her grave."

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The radio station tried 'several times' to contact the hospital to ask for permission to broadcast the hoax. I really would love to see the evidence.
In any case, the whole object of the hoax was to humiliate the victim and make them look small and stupid. I'm sure the presenters are indeed heartbroken, but I can think of some people who are even more heartbroken. Spare us the crocodile tears, please.

Come on. It was a prank call, and if that was her reason to commit suicide, it's a pretty weak one to say the least.

Guyver: How would you feel about someone shouting 'Fire' in a crowded cinema and then claiming that deaths in the resultant stampede were not their fault? The presenters knew nothing about their victim and apparently cared even less. Shame on them.

I hope they keep on crying the shameless toads they are not fit to broadcast or in any other way interact with normal people. I am sure they were high fiving and having a real aussie gloat until the solids hit the air conditioning and now they expect us to believe they are sorry.

This is so typical smart arses wanting to make fun of unsuspecting people all in the name of a bit of fun and laddism. I hope they never work again.

We've all done pranks in our lifetime. Some will end in tragedy whilst most others are harmless. They didn't know or envisage the tragedy that would follow their prank. However, just as a person who caused death or injury by accident can be held legally responsible for their actions, then so should the DJ's or their employer. Unlawful killing by accident is called manslaughter, even if the victim takes their own life as a result of others actions. I do not advocate a witch hunt nor a lynching but their should be some measure of justice for both the victim and her family. We should also show some humanity towards the two DJ's who have certainly shown they're contrite and remorseful.

"he whole object of the hoax was to humiliate the victim and make them look small and stupid. "

I doubt it.

Sandy: If the object of the exercise wasn't to make fun of the victim, what was it? Campaigning investigative journalism? What you would call innocent fun, most of us would call pure unadulterated cruelty.

No. The death of the woman was a tragedy. That should not cloud our judgement of what the DJ's did. Unfortunately it seems to have done that for many.

The intent of the hoaxers, almost certainly, was nothing more than a joke.

Grossly OTT. "Shouting fire in a crowded cinema" would almost certainly cause deaths. A poor analogy; wildly off.

"Apparently cared even less"...How is that apparent? What have you seen to make it apparent?

okay one has to be gracious enough to forgive them as they have apologised. But it seems the FM radio station has violated some privacy policy and law. Forget the fact that their frank caused humilation to an innocent receptionist and eventualy cost her presiuos life. If the loss of life could never be compensated they can always be booked for violating the existing law for broadcasting a recording without getting the consent of the concerned person.

I guess it was to be expected that the Brits, still reeling after the findings of the Leveson Inquiry, would use this as an opportunity to cast the Australians as so much worse than themselves! I think not. The British press cannot be outdone by any nation, any where on this earth, when it comes to the blatent use and abuse of innocent people to sell a story! Nice try, but it didn't work.

I was born in Britain and lived my formative years there. I now live in Australia. I'm not sure whether I am more British, or more Australian and I have dual nationality. I've been back and forth between both countries, and have a British father and an Australian mother. But one thing that does strike me about this 'tragedy' is the bizarre status that the British still appear to offer the Royals. I am not 'anti' the Royals, but I think they take themselves less seriously than do the British Public. Prince Charles, when asked about this prank call, responded with "How do you know I'm not a radio station?". This was, it must be stressed, well before the suicide of the nurse, and I'm sure he would not have joked about that. Nevertheless, it does seem that much of this poor nurse's shame was around her inability to protect a royal. And Kate Middleton, is afterall just a middle class girl, not unlike the ones I went to school with in my middle class Australian, top 'private' (pubilc as they are in the UK) school. Indeed, it was the same Geelong College that Charles himself attended. So what? So, the Aussie in me says, "Big deal... Nice middle class Kate who wasn't suffering from a serious illness, who hasn't really done anything remarkable with her life, spoke with a DJ in Australia on the phone." And? The cime is ... precisely, what? Surely, a much greater shame for any nurse would be in wasting a hospital's time putting a prank call through to someone in serious need, requiring urgent medical attention. But ordinary Kate was suffering the uncomfortalbe, even awful (I've had it three times) condition of 24 hour morning sickness, which is basically proof of a perfectly healthy baby, as there is no known miscarriage or unhealthy foetus that has ever emerged from this. most benign 'condition'. It's horrible for the mother, but it's far from 'serious.' So, precisely what made this poor Indian nurse feel so ashamed? My hunch is that it was her view of herself as somehow 'less' than this person of the 'untouchables'; this Kate Middleton, who had entered the realm of the most important of all human beings simply via the title bestowed on her in recent marriage. I find the British view of its monarchy cringe-worthy at times. The outrage over this incident is telling in the amount of anger it has generated over what 'ought' to be Kate's right to privacy. Agreed. But her right to privacy is no more important than any other woman's right to privacy, and there's no real reason that any nurse should feel shame over some perceived inability to protect the monarchy. That's the origin of the joke in the first place. Australians don't, as a rule, share the sicophantic belief in the Royals as some supreme beings, worthy of any greater dignity than anyone else. It seems that, from this perspective anyway, they view the Royals more like the Royals view themselves. Prince Charles's response is indicative of the regal knowledge that understands its place in contemporary culture and its role in the current, global village. Times are a not only changing; they have changed, and no Indian nurse should view herself as any less than, or any kind of slave to, the British aristocracy.

Didn't you ever make a prank call as a kid? Or ring the neighbours front door bell and then run away? Prank calls have been part of radio since it began. They are childish. In this instance, stupid. But that's a long way from being a targeted attempt to make fun of a victim! For goodness sake, these people never expected to be put through. It's like the Australian Chaser Team. One of them dressed up as Bin Laden when the American president was visiting Australia. He thought he'd get sent back at the first security point, but got all the way through the last, and right inside the president's circle. It created all kinds of outrage, and anger about 'security' and God knows what else. But it was the last thing the poor guy in the dress-up costume ever imagined! These DJ's are not that cunning, or that nasty. They're just a bit 'thick' as one says in Australia, and failry typical of the 'thick' 'bogun' audience that listens to them! You are crediting them with far greater tools of manipulation and cunning than exists inside their heads.

I'm sure there was another reason behind Jacintha taking her life, that is none of the public's business either I suppose, in that her family is dealing with her passing. What she did would not be a reason for suicide unless she was already depressed, perhaps for another reason. I think the comments here are pretty severe. This started out as a joke, with really lousy accents, but the intent was to make people smile. And nowadays it's not easy to do that, obviously, perhaps.

That's alright then, Jack!!! As long as it doesn't happen to you one day

Maybe these presenters and the Oz Radio Station should have found out first, however difficult, how vulnerable certain people are!!. It obviously was a situation that broke the camels back for Jacintha. Ignorance is not an excuse. According to the broadcasters they attempted to contact the hospital several times before posting the prank. Maybe they should have tried harder!!!

It did appear that some of the televised crying, esp. by Michael Christian, was perhaps simulated or at the very least exaggerated. (A televised apology was appropriate, but the way they did it was self-indulgent and a bit self-serving; a quiet, profound sorrow would have been more respectful.)