The Australian DJs who successfully pulled off a viral prank last week after they called the King Edward VII hospital in London to inquire about Kate Middleton’s condition,voluntarily appeared on A Current Affair today to discuss the tragedy that proceeded after their stunt. The DJ duo seemed to be genuine in their show of sorrow and grief over the suicide death of Kate Middleton’s nurse two days after the prank.
The prank garnered world-wide attention on Wednesday after two shock-jocks in Australia were successfully transferred to a nurse after a phone call was made by the DJs in effort to obtain information about Kate’s condition. A nurse who had access to Kate Middelton’s medical records, gave the DJs a medical progress report, sparking outrage from Middleton’s family.
Middleton was in the hospital for acute morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. The hospital admission prompted England’s royal family to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton pregnancy on Dec. 3.
After the radio DJs made it past the reception, fooling her with their fake English accents, they were patched to a nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, 43, who transferred the call to another nurse who ultimately gave details to the DJs an update on Kate’s condition. The female DJ, Mel Greig, told the staff that she was Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Williams’ grandmother.
Saldanha’s transfer of the call prompted another nurse to issue full disclosure about Kate’s progress. Two days later, Saldanha was found dead in what authorities believe to be a successful suicide. Saldanha is survived by two children.
Tracy Grimshaw of A Current Affair interview the DJs on Monday, starting with Michael Christian, who explained how the stunt was concocted:
Before the show, just had the idea for just a simple, harmless phone call that when we thought about making a call, it was going to go for 30 seconds, it was just…we were going to be hung up on and that was it. Yeah, as innocent as that.
Mel Greig, who pretended to be the Queen, followed up:
We thought a hundred people before us would have tried it. We thought it was such a silly idea and the accents were terrible. For a second we didn’t even think we’d speak to Kate let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital. We wanted to be hung up on.
Christian said they were shocked that they kept getting transferred to higher levels of staff, thinking at some point they were going to be found at and hung up on:
I don’t think anyone would have thought it would have had the outcome, the tragic outcome. The set of circumstances could have never been predicted by anyone, I don’t think. At every single point it was innocent on our behalf. It was something that was fun and lighthearted and it was a tragic turn of events that I don’t think anyone could have predicted.
Prank calls have been around for years. You prank someone, you record it and it goes to the other departments to find out what they want to do with it. So, it’s been done for years. It was routine for us. It wasn’t anything different.
Grieg and Christian also claimed that they’re not privy to what happened to the audio after they got done with the call. The shock jock duo said that the recording likely went to management and show producers and they decide what to do with it.
Greig also added:
It wasn’t meant to go that far.
I don’t even want to think about going back on air to be honest. I don’t…I’m more worried about the family. That’s where the focus should be, that they’re getting the support they need and the other nurse is getting the support she needs, that everyone is being looked after in this situation because there’s other innocent victims involved in this as well — the family, you know, her kids.
Christian said that they were upset and heartbroken, still trying to get their heads wrapped around the situation.
Grimshaw asked the DJs what message they’d like to leave with viewers and the victims of this tragedy.
Greig said in a tearful response:
I’ve thought about this a million times in my head, that I’ve just wanted to reach out to them and give them a big hug and say sorry and I hope they’re okay, I really do. I hope they get through this.
I hope they get the support they need. I can’t imagine how they feel right now. I mean, we’re shattered. Just know that it was never intended to be anything — there was no malice in our intent and we just hope that they’re okay and that our deepest sympathies are with all of them in this tough time.