Mummy Buzz


Royal Prank Turns Tragic

Is Nitwit Radio to Blame?

It started out as a prank. A phone call to the King Edward VII's Hospital where Duchess Kate was being treated for acute morning sickness ended with embarrassment, then tragedy. The nurse who answered the hoax call from Australian DJs was found dead just days later. 

According to an article in the Huffington Post, some suspect that 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha, a mother of two, killed herself over the stress of taking the now-infamous prank call from the Sydney radio station.

"The immediate consequence of these premeditated and ill-considered actions was the humiliation of two dedicated and caring nurses who were simply doing their job tending to their patients," read the letter from the London hospital to Southern Cross Austereo, parent company of the 2DayFM radio station. "The longer term consequence has been reported around the world and is, frankly, tragic beyond words."

Following the backlash, 2DayFM deleted its Facebook page. Mel Grieg and Michael Christian, the two DJs who posed as royals inquiring after Kate’s wellbeing, suspended their Twitter accounts after receiving thousands of abusive comments.

They apologized for their actions, and have been taken “taken off the air indefinitely.” The DJs are reportedly so devastated they are receiving counselling.

Saldanha was praised as a popular and well-respected "first-class nurse" who worked at King Edward VII's for the past four years.

The royal couple expressed regret at her death, but insisted they had not complained about the hoax, and the hospital maintains that Saldanha and her colleague were not reprimanded over the call.

Admittedly much of what passes for humour today on “nitwit radio” is rarely funny, the Australian Communications and Media Authority doubts the station broke any broadcasting laws.

The DJs’ impersonation of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles was lame and lowbrow, and has cast a dark shadow on the bright news of a royal baby.

True, such radio hijinks have been commonplace for decades, and are usually innocuous enough. It’s hard to believe anyone would take their own life over something so pointless and trivial...

Was this a mindless broadcasting stunt or a more sinister form of meddling? Are the DJs to blame for the loss of a life?