Mel Greig and Michael Christian, hosts of Australian radio show 2Day FM, have lost their jobs over the royal phone prank that spiraled out of control. Last week, the two DJs posed as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles when they called the UK Hospital where a pregnant Kate Middleton was being treated for morning sickness. The pre-recorded joke was broadcast on their show, inciting global backlash. The hoax took a turn for the worse when the nurse who was on the other end of the call was found dead days later.
As a result the show's network, Southern Cross Austereo, has cancelled their show.
Network executive Rhys Holleran issued a public apology. "First and foremost we would like to express our deep and sincere condolences to the family for their loss. We are very sorry for what has happened," he said.
"We don’t claim to be perfect and we always strive to do better. We have initiated a detailed and rigorous review of our policies and procedures to inform any improvements we can make."
Light-hearted spoofs are a normal part of radio hosting, so even the culprits themselves were surprised how far this particular one went. “They were the world’s worst accents ever. We were sure 100 people at least before us would’ve tried the same thing. We were expecting to be hung up on. We didn’t even know what to say when we got through,” Greig explained to listeners last week. The banter continued on Twitter with #RoyalPrank becoming a trending topic.
Since the death of the King Edward VII Hospital nurse the disc jockeys have expressed deep sorrow. In an interview Greig said, “It came into my head that I just wanted to reach out to them (the family), give them a big hug and say sorry. I hope they’re OK, I really do.” She and her co-host are coping with the tragedy through therapy.
Currently nurse Jacintha Saldanha's death is under investigation and is listed as "unexplained". She was forty-six and leaves behind a husband and two children.