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Internet wants DJs fired after “Royal Prank” leads to suicide
A nurse tending to Kate Middleton has committed suicide after falling for a prank call from two Australian radio hosts.
An Australian radio station behind a prank involving the nurse taking care of a pregnant Kate Middleton is being pelted with scornful messages from angry users on Facebook and Twitter.
2Day FM caught the world’s attention after evening DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian called into a London hospital pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles to obtain an update about Middleton’s health. The call was transferred to nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who released private information.
Saldanha apparently committed suicide Friday.
The hospital said in a statement that Saldanha had worked there for more than four years as an “excellent nurse,
Greig and Christian boasted on social media the past few days on how they conceived of “easiest prank call ever made.” The pair, who host the Hot30 countdown show on the Sydney-based hit music station, thought the hoax wouldn’t be believed due to their “terrible accents.”
The pair issued an apology on Thursday.
“We were very surprised that our call was put through. We thought we’d be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents,” the pair said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. “We’re very sorry if we’ve caused any issues and we’re glad to hear that Kate is doing well.”
After the news of the nurse’s death, the DJs are doing more damage control as Internet users are calling for their dismissal. A post on 2Day FM’s Facebook page promoting the “royal hoax” was pulled, but Silicon Republic took screenshots of several angry comments.
“I already felt that the call was not funny, rude, inappropriate, and an invasion of privacy and thought you should be have been charged with fraud and/or impersonation.” commented Nicole GuBrath. “Did you even think about the fact that you were destroying another person?”
Both DJs shuttered their Twitter accounts on Friday after being bombarded with vitriolic tweets.
“A husband without a wife and two kids without a mother! All thanks to you two @MelGreigHot30 & @MContheradio SHAME ON YOU! #royalprank,” tweeted Vajira Ratnayaka. Another Twitter user said they have “blood on their hands.”
A petition on Change.org has also started to get the pair fired for their “gross misconduct” but only 250 people have signed it. 2Day FM has not issued a statement since the nurse’s death.
UPDATE: The hosts “have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect,” according to CNN royal correspondent Max Foster.
Photo via Hot30 Countdown/Facebook
A former editorial operations specialist and staff writer for the Daily Dot, Jordan Valinsky is a tech reporter and web culture commentator. His work has been published by the Week, Digiday, CNNMoney, Popular Mechanics, Vice, Mic, and Betabeat.