2 Aussie DJs Speak Out About Prank Call & Suicide
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The joke was supposed to be on them, say Aussie disc jockeys Michael Christian and Mel Greig. Greig says, "(We) didn't expect to get through to anyone at any stage."
But they did. In their first public appearance since British nurse Jacintha Saldanha killed herself after transferring their call to Kate Middleton's hospital room, the pair says they are "shattered and heartbroken." Christian is unable to hold back tears when he says, "Personally, I'm...gutted."
"Obviously it's tragic, it was sad. But it's also something not out of the ordinary for a morning show like that to do," says TJ of Channel 96.1's "The Ace and TJ Show." He and Ace agree the Aussie DJs should have been punished, but stop short of blaming them for Saldanha's death. "To say that they are responsible for the death of the woman, I think is going a little bit too far. Because she made the decision to take her own life," says Ace.
The popular morning show personalities point out American broadcast laws are different. TJ says, "For example, you can't put somebody on the radio live without their knowledge. So whenever you hear these pranks with DJs, they're calling somebody and saying 'you just made a fool of yourself in front of your girlfriend,' that's either a skit that's done by actors or it's illegal."
The Aussie prank was recorded. Radio staff reportedly tried to contact King Edward VII hospital five times to talk about the call. Greig and Christian say their bosses decided to put it on air. In the aftermath of Saldanha's death, the broadcast company halted prank phone calls.
The nurse leaves behind a husband and two children. Her parents, holding a picture of their daughter, visited Parliament Monday. Christian says, "Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for the situation and what's happened."
Greig and Christian are at an undisclosed location where they are receiving counseling. Meantime, hundreds of people attended a memorial service for Saldanha on Sunday.