Kate Hospital Hoax Suicide: Australian Radio Show Behind Prank Call Canceled

An Australian radio station has officially pulled the plug on the hosts whose prank call may have led to a London nurse’s suicide.

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Reuters

DJs Mel Greig (left) and Michael Christian impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles in a prank call to the London hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge last December. The hoax led to a London nurse’s suicide.

The Australian radio show at the center of the prank call controversy to Kate Middleton’s hospital last December has been officially cancelled by its network and a new program will fill its nightly time slot, according to the British newspaper the Guardian.

The hosts who perpetrated the hoax, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, were taken off air in December following the death of Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse at London’s King Edward VII Hospital. Saldana put their call through to another nurse who revealed details about the Duchess of Cambridge’s health on air, reported the Guardian.  Three days later, she was found dead after apparently committing suicide.

(MORE: Duchess Kate’s Hospital Nurse in Suspected Suicide over Prank Call)

During the call, the hosts pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, calling to inquire about Kate’s health.  The nurse caring for her revealed personal information about the Duchess’s medical condition, according to Agence France-Presse.

The prank call triggered a massive backlash against the Australian station 2Day FM and hosts Christian and Greig because they did not gain consent from the nurses involved before broadcasting their voices on air, according to the Guardian.

Following the incident Southern Cross Austereo, which owns 2Day FM, “suspended all prank calls, pulled advertising and ordered a comprehensive review of relevant policies and process,” CNN reported.

(MORE: Family Grieves for Nurse Who Died After Royal Prank)

Southern Cross Austereo said on its Facebook page that although it was replacing Christian and Greig’s nighttime show, the two remained employed by the station and that the company was “looking forward to them returning to work when the time is right.” Since giving two TV interviews following Saldanha’s death, Christian and Greig have not spoken publicly, according the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
In December, London’s Metropolitan Police Service, Scotland Yard, submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution service to determine whether any criminal offense was committed in connection to Saldanha’s death, the Guardian reported. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which regulates commercial radio stations, has launched its own investigation.

(MORE: Will and Kate’s Baby: Could Britain Change Its 300-Year-Old Succession Laws?)

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