Comments

  1. Michael Demmons says

    I hope this makes people think about the consequences of pranks.

    HOWEVER…

    I find it VERY difficult to believe that this woman killed herself over this prank. It MIGHT have been the final straw in her life, but anyone who kills themself has almost certainly had that plan in the works for some time and was suffering mentally for some time.

    These radio jocks were not responsible for her death. They were just the last straw in a most likely very disturbed woman’s life.

  2. Caliban says

    This doesn’t make any sense to me. Has her family said that falling for the prank was devastating to her? The hospital claims she wasn’t punished for it.

    As Michael says above, there had to be other things going on in her life that made her commit suicide. As momentarily embarrassing as this might have been to her, in a month no one will remember or care about it.

  3. AJ says

    @ MICHAEL DEMMONS: I agree. They shouldn’t be blamed for this. Suicide never occurs in a bubble. It’s never as simple as this. She had a prank played on her, therefore, she killed herself is not the way it goes. Something else was going on. Just like all the bullied little kids that Towleroad harps on. There are extenuating circumstances and un-diagnosed mental illness involved. It’s not: I was bullied, therefore I must kill myself.

  4. Jim says

    After watching this, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. There’s no doubt they are remorseful and they didn’t cause the woman’s suicide. However, this should be a warning to all “shock jocks” who routinely make fun of others for morning drive time fun. Gays have been the victims of these pranks for years. Morning radio is just brutal, juvenile and insipid, and the jocks are so desperate for material every day that they resort of making bad jokes on others. When he said, “This is no different from anything else,” he’s sadly right – morning radio material is all garbage.

  5. James Twist says

    Obviously they’ve been well coached by lawyers as just how much to admit to. I find it hard to believe that they had absolutely no idea what happens to content once they’ve produced it.
    Some people don’t take into account just how fragile some people are, or how people from different cultures may take humiliation; it doesn’t matter as long as they’ve got their laugh in.

  6. Jack M says

    What was wrong was that these two called a hospital trying to obtain information from a patient. That makes it more serious. Something like that just isn’t done; it’s a gross invasion of privacy. And who’s to say the nurse didn’t kill herself due to the high standards she held herself up to? Nobody can see inside someone else’s heart.

  7. Lucas H says

    Do we know if she committed suicide directly as a result of this prank? I’m just curious, I haven’t seen any other information about what led to her killing herself… was she mentally ill? Did she have financial or family problems?

    It’s just hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of someone committing suicide for a prank that – while embarrassing – was just a stupid prank.

  8. ATLJason says

    Wildest theory I’ve heard floated: The royal family actually had the nurse killed as a warning to the world not to mess with Kate. That’s something right out of a spy-movie thriller. The real world is never quite as full of intrigue as a spy movie, but still kind of a wild idea.

  9. ATLJason says

    Wildest theory I’ve heard floated: The royal family actually had the nurse killed as a warning to the world not to mess with Kate. That’s something right out of a spy-movie thriller. The real world is never quite as full of intrigue as a spy movie, but still kind of a wild idea.

  10. ratbastard says

    My sympathy and empathy goes out to the women’s family and friends. Really, this poor lady obviously had serious mental health issues. NO SANE ADULT would kill themselves over this kind of BS.

    And if this poor woman was so distraught over ‘hurting’ the so-called ‘Duchess of Cambridge’, than the brainwashing and negative influence of a society that believes some human beings are their superiors by virtue of birthright is even worse than I thought.

  11. Steve F says

    Until an inquest has been held it’s impossible to know the full circumstances surrounding the nurse’s suicide.

    I’ve read plenty of reports that have played down the prank and it’s seriousness. But it must have been very hard for a quiet, hard-working nurse, who just came in to do her job and go home, to suddenly find herself at the centre of a global viral firestorm. And to feel the pressure of tens of millions of people who heard that recording, and to believe they were all laughing at your foolishness at being so obviously duped.

    Imagine the humiliation of saying something slightly stupid or naive in school classroom and the burning embarrassment as everyone laughs at you – multiplied millions of times.

    And all to bump ratings of a tacky commercial radio station.

  12. Donald says

    Were the two radio people wholly responsible for her death? No. Did they contribute to it? Quite possibly. We’ll never know. And I just don’t buy their crying act, blondie is crying because of how this is affecting her life, not because someone is dead.

  13. JR says

    It’s a terrible situation and I don’t blame them. I mean, who knew you could call the hospital and pretend to be THE QUEEN and they’d go “oh sure, here’s Kate’s room!”

    I mean c’mon.

  14. SC David says

    Crocodile tears–no sympathy here. Bullies claiming victimhood. The defenses of prank calls that (a) “everybody does it” and (b) the completed recording was approved by editors are especially grating. And kudos to the wonderful interviewer. She’s the anti-Piers Morgan. Can you imagine an interviewer stateside that simply asks questions as intelligently as this interviewer does, without constantly interrupting and calling attention to herself? Gotta love the way she just says, “Really?” when the interview subjects say something particularly absurd.

  15. Kevin_BGFH says

    I do not believe they should be charged with anything relating to the poor nurse’s suicide. They may, however, be subject to invasion of privacy charges that has nothing to do with the nurse’s death. I suspect that simply attempting to get that information fraudulently, whether or not it was successful, is illegal. The fact that they were in Australia at the time makes the case more complicated.

  16. Mb says

    The interviewer asked them, when you realized that the call had gone through and you knew you were going to get detailed private medical information, did you think about putting an end to the prank? and they answered no one could have foreseen the tragic events. Not an answer to the question. Why didn’t you stop the prank when it was clear that you were invading someone’s privacy under false pretenses? They try to say, someone else decides whether or not to put it on the air, bullsh*t. Why didn’t you stop when you KNEW it had gone too far.

  17. Anita Pill says

    @Michael. Your ignorance on the topic of suicide speaks volumes. Might I suggest that if you don’t have good understanding of suicide or it’s causes or contributing factors that you hush.

  18. Anita Pill says

    @Michael. Your ignorance on the topic of suicide speaks volumes. Might I suggest that if you don’t have good understanding of suicide or it’s causes or contributing factors that you hush.

  19. Anita Pill says

    @Michael. Your ignorance on the topic of suicide speaks volumes. Might I suggest that if you don’t have good understanding of suicide or it’s causes or contributing factors that you hush.

  20. Patois says

    This, to me, this illustrates the problem with the whole “Morning Zoo” format of AM radio. It’s always been, to me, rude and juvenile. Can’t stand it. Only inevitable that such things escalate beyond control – or what anyone “wishes”. Agree with SC DAVID. And JR – exactly – so why even try?

  21. Meep says

    I hate these prank call shows.Down here they think it was great fun.

    One radio show got a young girl to admit she’d been raped on live radio. I’m sure you guys remember the parody of the jacksons but a black aboriginal version after MJ died

  22. SeanMiami says

    Without knowing intimately the life of the deceased, it’s impossible to know why this has happened. However, here is my take, as a former UK resident and now long-term US resident, on the background:

    0. Why on earth were the communications to the hospital not manned by Palace security or protocol minders? Was the Duchess so low down in risk assessments?

    1. The Australian accent is so pronounced to native UK English-speakers that it is extremely unlikely that either the DJ’s or a native-bred Brit would have taken the call further. Ms Saldhana was from Portugese India and obviously unable to detect immediately that the callers were fake.

    2. The consequences were “unexpected” only if you assumed that your value systems were shared by everyone else. In this case, Ms Saldhana had a very different set of values in which “loss of face” may have pushed her over the edge. Let this be a lesson to pranksters with arrogant attitudes (“I wouldn’t react to it so why should you!?”)

    3. The station management is ultimately responsible for what is allowed to be broadcast. There IS a consequence to one’s actions, however unintended; the lesson is not be be so egocentric that you blithely bluster about as if your worldview were universal.

    4. Send me Michael, the male DJ, for some reeducation!

  23. KT says

    The problem with suicide is sooften it is a spur of the moment decision. So many people who have survived suicide attempts say they regreted it immediately. Sometimes all it takes is a bad day at work, an argument with a family member, or an unpaid bill to bring on the suicidal tendencies.
    My sister works in healthcare and she said if those nurses had been in the US, their licenses would have been revoked immediately. I wonder if that happened to this nurse as well. That is definitely something that could greatly affect someone suffering from depression and drive them to suicide. Unfortunately we will probably never know the true reason this woman took her life (If that is indeed the case – the police have not yet confirmed the case of death).

  24. andrew says

    The only thing the DJs are guilty of is making a silly prank call. The nurse must have had some serious psychological issues to kill herself over her embarassment. I read that she had a husband and two children. I don’t know the age of the children, but, I think that her suicide was an extremely selfish act.

  25. Rob says

    It was just a prank. Isn’t that what gay bashing bullies say? It, and the majority of these radio pranks are meanspirited intrustions on unsuspecting victims. I hope the tears are real; but they leave me oddly unmoved. You need to consider the consequences of and accept responsibility for your actions.

  26. Icebloo says

    This does not make any sense. They played a joke. It was a joke. If the Nurse was so unstable that she killed herself over this then she was not mentally stable enough to deal with the immense pressure of being a Nurse.
    I’m sorry someone died but she chose to do that – the radio people didn’t do it to her.

    The radio presenters SHOULD be charged with accessing someone’s personal, confidential information illegally but they should not face any further charges.

    Also, as for the royals saying they did not complain – that is just bulls#it. I don’t believe that for a second. The royals are horrible, bullying, greedy people. You can bet they made life difficult for the hospital and their staff.

  27. Stolidogidog says

    I’m sure her coworkers were brutal about it and deserve the lions share of the blame, although they’ll never admit that to themselves

  28. Rrhain says

    There are rules about pranking:

    1) Know the person you’re pranking. You must be pretty certain that they will appreciate the joke. If they’re not laughing when it’s over, it isn’t a prank.

    This pretty much means you don’t prank strangers.

    Strike 1 for the DJs.

    2) Take responsibility. When someone asks, “Who did this?” you step up and admit it. You don’t do something to someone and then try to play innocent when it goes bad.

    Ball 1 for the DJs.

    3) You must undo what you did. Whatever it is you did for the prank, you must be able to return everything back to the way it was and be willing to do it all by yourself. The pranked does not need to help and you had better be sure that you can do so without disrupting the pranked’s life. This goes back to knowing your target.

    There would be no way to put the private medical information back in the bottle once they broadcast it to the world.

    Strike 2 for the DJs.

    Unfortunately, all it takes is one strike to fail the test. While I’m not quite at the point of blaming the DJs for her death, there were a couple of big warning signs that they shouldn’t have done this. They were trying to get private medical information from someone they didn’t know.

    That’s not a prank.

  29. ratbastard says

    It would appear this poor women’s Indian cultural ‘values’ were really ultimately to blame for her suicide. Really, she had to kill herself to save her and her family’s ‘face’? There is only one word to describe that, and it’s PATHETIC. Maybe other cultures need to be nudged to develop a better sense of humor and not take themselves so seriously. Yes, I know it’s VERY un-P.C. what I just wrote. Too bad.

    I still of course feel sympathy for this poor women’s family and friends, BUT maybe they and their shared culture were what really pushed her over the edge. This may be acceptable in India and other places, it certainly isn’t in a modern western society. Multiculturalism and all cultures are equally deserving of respect doesn’t always fly with me.

  30. says

    Not a big fan of pranks and hate DJs like this, however, give me a BREAK that so many people are acting so outraged. The same people howling about the unthinkable prank are forwarding those viral videos of Brazilians being terrorized by fake ghost girls and corpses come to life in stalled elevators, pranks that were far more obviously likely to cause serious medical distress.

    I think it’s appropriate to fire them, but to charge them would be ridiculous.

  31. BobC562 says

    There’s a point of law called the egg-shell plaintiff. Or put another way, you take your victim as you find him. Even if a “normal” person (whatever the hell that means) wouldn’t be grievously injured, this stupid prank might well have pushed her beyond the limit. I have a close family member who is suicidal, and I’ve had to call 911 more than once. You never know what can set a person off. And the bottom line is that if these two gits were the cause of her going over the edge, then they can be held liable under the law.

  32. Drummond says

    OK. So it can’t be known for sure that the nurse killed herself over the prank.

    *Neither* can it be positively known that she *didn’t*.

    Suppose she *did* already have some emotional instability or some life issues of stress. The prank may very well have pushed her over the edge. She may very well *not* have killed herself if the prank had not happened.

    *Any* uncertainty as to whether the prank *did* contribute to the suicide is a *fail* on the DJs’ action.

  33. andrew says

    @Stolidogdog: You are “sure her coworkers were brutal about it”. Your evidence backing up that charge???

  34. anon says

    Wow. This is all over the map! The whole hospital visit was a bit mysterious. We can only speculate on what was going on there under the morning sickness cover story. William’s life has been orchestrated to the fullest extent possible, in part to prevent the mishaps that happened with his father and other royals. Who knows what risks they are trying to mitigate now. We can’t speculate on the Nurse, but there will probably be an inquiry and then decades of speculative conspiracy theories that go along with anything royal, which is another reason to end the practice.

  35. peterparker says

    I have no interest in weighing in on who is and who is not responsible. In my opinion, it is likely too complicated to be as simplistic as saying “___________ was the party at fault.” And no matter which perspective you take, it is a tragedy from every angle.

    What I do want to say is that it is interesting to me how quickly towleroad commenters are to exonerate the Australian DJs and instead blame the victim of this prank by saying suicide doesn’t happen in a bubble, she must have had mental health issues anyway, no sane person would commit suicide over something so trivial, she’s responsible for her own actions, etc…

    Compare this case to that of the suicide of Tyler Clementi. In both situations, the victim’s suicide appears to have been caused by their embarrassment/shame at having what they thought was private behavior held up for ridicule. Yet in the Clementi case, towleroad commenters overwhelmingly sided with the victim, Clementi, and placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrators of the prank, Dharun Ravi and, to a lesser extent, Molly Wei. In this case, towleroad commenters are almost exclusively blaming Jacintha Saldhana and excusing the actions of the DJs.

    I wonder why that is? After all, this nurse had her behavior broadcast to millions and millions of people–a situation which almost no private citizen could be prepared to handle, thrust on them so unexpectedly as this was. By contrast, Clementi’s kiss was viewed by a total of 6 people. Clearly, we identify with Clementi due to shared sexual orientation. The vast majority of us have suffered being exposed as gay before we are/were ready for other to know. But the vast majority of us have also pranked others at some point in our existence.

    It is entirely understandable to me how both victims would feel shame/embarrassment. I can even understand how both victims might have believed that suicide was the only option (though clearly from an objective standpoint, it is the worst option). But I cannot understand why towleroad commenters are so overwhelmingly in favor of blaming Dharun Ravi/Molly Wei for Clementi’s suicide while giving a pass to the Australian DJs for the suicide of Jacintha Saldhana.

  36. Mrs. Sippi says

    Assholes. What right do they have to make someone a punchline in their b.s. I hope they feel horrible and leave people to live their lives and do their jobs.

  37. StudioTodd says

    While I feel sorry for the family she abandoned and left to fend for themselves, if this woman killed herself over this incident, she is a feeble-minded, selfish idiot.

    Why the prank is being characterized as “bullying” is beyond me. Who was bullied? No one. At what point was anyone threatened during this call? No. Was anyone (other than the queen and her idiot son) treated badly or demeaned in any way? No. Were the hospital employees even the focus of the prank? No.

    The focus was a person who FREELY CHOSE to be an international PUBLIC FIGURE when she decided to marry into a family in which every minute detail of their lives is scrutinized, investigated and reported. That the information was obtained during a prank call is beside the point.

    And what “personal information” was given out during this call? Nothing more than the fact that the patient was feeling better, which had already been reported. Nothing was disclosed that would be considered embarrassing or “sensitive” or that might threaten Kate’s security.

    That the call got through as far as it did is more an indictment of the hospital’s internal procedures for handling telephone requests for patient updates than it is of the specific employees involved OR the callers.

    There was no malice involved in this prank call. No reasonable person listening to the call would consider the entire episode to be anything more than slightly surprising and (maybe) mildly amusing.

    For this woman to exploit this incident as an excuse to abandon her family, devastating and emotionally scarring them for the rest of their lives, is beyond ridiculous. It is appalling, selfish and cruel.

    Shame on HER–not these two radio people.

  38. andrew says

    @ Studiotodd: I agree with everything in your post except, I don’t think that Prince Charles is an idiot. He is a very thoughtful and progressive voice on global warming and environmental issues, among others. I say that at the risk that it is causing my Irish Catholic ancestors to spin in their graves.

  39. EchtKultig says

    Agree with StudioTodd and Ratbastard. This whole thing is ridiculously blown out of proportion. It’s far more an indictment of the hospital’s procedures and the palace’s security detail than this nurse; that she didn’t understand that was tragic for her, obviously.

  40. EchtKultig says

    “Compare this case to that of the suicide of Tyler Clementi.”

    No, I won’t, because that’s a positively insane comparison.

  41. Paul says

    Did you notice that the DJs don’t believe they have any responsibility in what happened.

    First off – No one could have imagined this could happen. No ones fault
    Second- We thought we’d be hung up on. Jacintha’s fault for trusting them.
    Third – We just make the bits, there’s a process to decide what gets on the air. Management’s fault.

    I bet when they negotiate contracts they are geniuses who deserve more money for how talented they are. In this case they claim they are just pawns in someone else’s game.

    Whatever they *thought* the outcome would be is not relevant. What actually happened is.

  42. andrew says

    @Paul: The DJ’s are guilty of nothing more than making a silly phone prank. The nurse who took her life over this and left her husband a widower and her children motherless was an obviously troubled individual.

  43. StudioTodd says

    And what “actually happened,” Paul?

    I’ll tell you–they “actually” ended up staying on the line for longer than they expected. They “actually” spoke with dopey accents to hospital staff. They “actually” were told that Kate was feeling better.

    That’s all that “actually” happened. Everything that has occurred afterward as a result was out of proportion with the “actual” events and ridiculously absurd.

  44. Keppler says

    The refrain seems to be: “It wasn’t our fault. We didn’t decide to put the call on the air. Someone else made all the decisions. And even so, no one could have foreseen…blah…blah…blah…. Don’t blame us.”

    Food for thought, though: Maybe it’s time to foresee that the unforeseen might be damaging, and that the people you prank might not be equipped to deal with what you plan to put them through.

  45. Thomas Cardellino says

    First off, why did “AJ” find it necessary to make the comment: “Just like all the bullied little kids that Towleroad harps on.” “Harps on?” You are an unmitigated merely provocative without substance moron to make such an unfounded correlation. The kids committing suicide had been living very few years, most of which were torment without relent, unlike the nurse who was the adult tragic victim of a self-destructive decision she made. Why she made that radical of a decision in the face of what most folks would consider a passing event of embarrassment is yet to be determined. But for “AJ” to say that Towleroad “harps on” kids deaths, as if the reporting is disproportional to the tragedy of this LGBTQ majority death toll of childhood suicide in the face of unrelenting bullying is a comment I would expect from an official from the Ugandan “Kill the Gays” Party.

    Secondly, my condolences go out to the family and friends of Jacintha Saldanha, who somehow felt her self-deliverance was her only option. It occurs to me that a clash of cultures of tragic proportions was at play here. Oftentimes, minorities who work hard to achieve positions of responsibility in a culture different from their ancestral origins set very rigid and hard standards for themselves to try to “fit in” with their perceived standards of action in that different culture. Indeed, it could have been (and I emphasize “could”) that this was a matter of deeply held self-imposed standards of honor she formed to get past prejudices in order to “belong” to a culture different from that of her ancestors.

  46. Lee says

    I think that what this ultimalety comes down to is that the nurse comes from an Indian background, which means she had a different value system when it comes to such things as privacy, shame, embarrasment and ultimately “loss of face.” And keep in mind that this was not some random hospital she worked at, it is a ROYAL hospital, and she was at least partially responsible for releasing private medical information about an ailing pregnant woman.

    I can definately see how she was not able to simply “get over it”, or “laught it off”, as others here claim she should’ve done…

  47. Dan says

    @Andrew:

    RRHAIN’s “source” is common sense and decency. It is arrogant to embarrass strangers on the premise that you “know” how they’ll react, or even worse, how they “should” react. The fact that our culture has chosen to indulge in it with hidden camera shows, radio shock-jocks, and the like, doesn’t make it any more morally acceptable. People who don’t volunteer themselves to be public spectacles should never be forced into that role.

  48. Liam says

    Remember these are the same shock jocks who were reprimanded several years ago for getting 13 year old girl on the air and forcing her to admit she had been raped. They promised to never never do anything like this again and … they did it again. This is bullying plain and simple. The are going to be charged as is their station manager. I heard it on the BBC this morning.

  49. EchtKultig says

    OK, excellent. Now we have something to compare it to. Clearly, what they did to the 13 year old was wrong, because: 1) it involved a 13 year old 2) it involved that person’s history of being violated and 3) it was aired publicly.

    The ONLY similarity is #3. They did put a few seconds of this woman on the air. If she was so devastated, she should have sued the station, not killed herself. This was clearly a “last straw” that pushed someone already depressed over the edge. And if that’s cause for dismissal from a job and being charged with something, what next? I looked at someone the wrong way and 20 seconds later they jumped off a bridge? Should I be thrown into jail for the fact I didn’t smile? At a certain point in society we have to say adults are responsible for the own actions, including their response to mild adversity.
    Remember the woman who thought the deer crossing signs were for deer and has been lampooned by millions on youtube? That was 100X times as embarrassing for her as this, and yet she took it in good humor.

  50. EchtKultig says

    “Did you notice that the DJs don’t believe they have any responsibility in what happened.”

    Because they don’t.

  51. Tom says

    ECHTKULTIG and Liam. That was Kyle (Sandilands) and Jackie O, they broadcast on the same channel as Mel and Michael. Idiot!