A spokeswoman for the Australian radio station whose hosts prank called a U.K. hospital about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge said it has received “unfair” backlash after a hospital nurse duped by the duo apparently committed suicide.
Sandy Kaye, a spokeswoman for Southern Cross Austereo, told the Daily Telegraph it “feels as through the British media are on a witch hunt” for DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian and 2DayFM.
“It is quite easy to blame us…The Australian industry seems to sit quite fairly behind us. Prank calls have been going on for 50 years in the radio industry. It is not designed to humiliate or embarrass. All protocols were followed to the letter. It was only supposed to be a harmless prank,” Kaye told the newspaper.
Greig and Christian called the hospital on the air last week pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles and spoke to a nurse who said the former Kate Middleton “hasn’t had any retching with me and she’s been sleeping on and off” during her hospital stay for acute morning sickness.
Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who first took the call and transferred it to the nurse caring for the duchess, is suspected to have taken her own life Friday.
British police have contacted Australian authorities about a possible investigation, the Associated Press reported. King Edward VII’s Hospital called the situation “tragic beyond words” in a letter to the chairman of the radio station’s owner Saturday.
Southern Cross Austereo chairman Max Moore-Wilton, which owns 2DayFM, said Sunday the company would cooperate with any investigation. Both DJs have been taken off the air indefinitely.
“It is too early to know the full details leading to this tragic event and we are anxious to review the results of any investigation that may be made available to us or made public,” Moore-Wilton wrote. “I can assure you we are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast and processes involved.”