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'Shattered' Australian DJs Break Silence Over Deadly Kate Middleton Prank Call: VIDEO


Last week I posted about the prank call made by two Australian radio DJs to Kate Middleton at the hospital where she was staying while enduring morning sickness. Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who connected the DJs to another nurse who released private information after being duped into thinking she was speaking with Prince Charles and The Queen, subsequently committed suicide.

The DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian took themselves off the air last week, and gave their first interview about the tragedy to Australia's Current Affair.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. 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!

    Posted by: SeanMiami | Dec 10, 2012 1:23:13 PM

  2. This is why I have XM in my car, so I don't have to listen to crap like them on my radio.

    Posted by: chasmader | Dec 10, 2012 1:34:49 PM

  3. 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).

    Posted by: KT | Dec 10, 2012 1:47:05 PM

  4. 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.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 10, 2012 2:04:06 PM

  5. 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.

    Posted by: Rob | Dec 10, 2012 2:04:37 PM

  6. Don't f**k with the royal family.

    That is all.

    Posted by: R | Dec 10, 2012 2:28:35 PM

  7. We're all responsible for our own actions. Bottom line.

    Posted by: Sean Maloney | Dec 10, 2012 2:41:46 PM

  8. 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.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Dec 10, 2012 3:17:01 PM

  9. 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

    Posted by: Stolidogidog | Dec 10, 2012 3:24:14 PM

  10. He favors Cheyenne Jackson. I think they should be punished but not charged with a crime.

    Posted by: Bobby | Dec 10, 2012 3:27:01 PM

  11. 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.

    Posted by: Rrhain | Dec 10, 2012 3:34:08 PM

  12. 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.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 10, 2012 3:45:55 PM

  13. 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.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Dec 10, 2012 3:53:43 PM

  14. 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.

    Posted by: BobC562 | Dec 10, 2012 3:58:31 PM

  15. Clearly the Royal Family still rules in OZ...

    Posted by: Opinionated | Dec 10, 2012 4:04:51 PM

  16. Nothing says "shattered" like going on TV to talk about yourselves.

    Posted by: BobN | Dec 10, 2012 4:11:43 PM

  17. 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.

    Posted by: Drummond | Dec 10, 2012 4:12:20 PM

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

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 10, 2012 4:12:33 PM

  19. 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.

    Posted by: anon | Dec 10, 2012 5:17:53 PM

  20. 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.

    Posted by: peterparker | Dec 10, 2012 5:18:17 PM

  21. 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.

    Posted by: Mrs. Sippi | Dec 10, 2012 5:58:41 PM

  22. 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.

    Posted by: StudioTodd | Dec 10, 2012 7:50:53 PM

  23. @ 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.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 10, 2012 9:39:49 PM

  24. 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.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Dec 10, 2012 9:59:57 PM

  25. "Compare this case to that of the suicide of Tyler Clementi."

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

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Dec 10, 2012 10:01:03 PM

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