It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye, isn’t it?
Last week, the world learned Kate Middleton is pregnant with The Most Important Baby In The World when she was hospitalized in London with an extreme form of morning sickness. Swiftly, a pair of Australian DJs with the show 2DayFM prank called King Edward VII, pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, and were patched through to Kate’s private nurse on the hospital switchboard. The private nurse then told the prank callers confidential medical information about Kate’s condition.
On Friday, the nurse who had been manning the switchboard and patched 2DayFM through was found dead in a London park of an apparent suicide. Jacintha Saldanha was a 46-year-old mother of two teenagers and by all accounts, a talented nurse.
This weekend, the CEO of the company which owns 2DayFM stood up for the DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian. In a press conference he said:
I spoke to both presenters early this morning and it’s fair to say they are completely shattered. These people aren’t machines, they’re human beings. What happened is incredibly tragic and we’re deeply saddened and we’re incredibly affected by that. I think prank calls as a craft in radio have been going for decades and decades and are not just part of one radio station or network or country. No one could have reasonably foreseen what ended up being an incredibly tragic day.
Despite being defended by their company, the pair has been taken off the air until further notice.
He certainly brings up a good point: it was impossible to forsee this coming. I’m personally of the opinion that most prank calls are, on some level, cruel and are mostly funny because they play to our basest instincts. There’s no way to go back in time and prevent the death of this poor woman. But perhaps some good will come of this if it stirs a worldwide conversation about the inanity and cruelty of prank calls.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.