The two Australian radio hosts who prank-called Kate Middleton’s hospital, got confidential information about the duchess’ condition and allegedly played a part in a King Edward VII Hospital nurse’s suicide, have been “terminated.”
Mel Grieg and Michael Christian of 2Day FM’s “Hot 30″ show called the hospital last Tuesday pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. A nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, answered the phone and passed the prank call along to Middleton’s private nurse who relayed personal information about Middleton’s condition on-air. Saldanha was found dead in an apparent suicide Friday.
In a statement on the 2Day FM’s parent company’s website Monday, Southern Cross Austereo wrote that it is “deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world.”
As a result of the incident, Grieg and Christian “have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy.”
Southern Cross Austereo cancelled 2Day FM’s “Hot 30″ show, suspended advertising on the station “until further notice” and instituted a company-wide ban of on-air prank calls, Gawker reports.
In a televised interview over the weekend, Grieg and Christian appeared on Australia’s “A Current Affair” over the weekend — their first public statements since Friday’s tragedy.
The hosts said that they were “gutted” by the suicide and that they never expected the prank to go as far as it did. Grieg said, “I don’t even want to think about going back on air, to be honest.”
Christian said that he feels “Shattered, gutted, heartbroken and obviously our deepest sympathies are with the family with the friends and all those affected.”
“Obviously Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for this situation and what’s happened,” he continued tearfully. “And we hope that they’re doing okay and they’re getting the love and support that they need and deserve right now, but personally I’m…gutted.”