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An Amazing Race Australia Contestant Is At The Centre Of Radio Prank That Led To Nurse Suiciding

It was tragic news indeed when it emerged the nurse who took the prank call at the hospital where Kate Middleton was hospitalised had taken her own life.

The  now deceased nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, had been staffing the switchboard for a short time when the duo from the top 30 Countdown on Today FM rang in pretending to be part of the royal family. They were put through to the ward where the newly pregnant Duchess was getting treated for severe morning sickness.

One of the pranksters was Mel Grieg who was in season one of The Amazing Race Australia. She had raced with her sister Alana. It was a volatile relationship and they ended up coming seventh.

Mel and her on air radio partner Michael Christian were stoked that their stunt made international headlines, however now the tragedy has occurred, they have taken themselves off air and deleted their twitter accounts. It is unclear if or when they will return to the airwaves.

However sponsors are already starting to withdraw from the radio program.

Mel, whose Amazing Race profile said she loves being the center of attention may be getting a bit more then she bargained for.

(Source: Mirror)

31 comments

1 Nathan 1 { 12.08.12 at 10:07 pm }

i love prank calls…but theres always that chance that…..

2 Michelle { 12.08.12 at 10:27 pm }

The idea of a prank call is to embarrass the callee. It`s extremely immature & childish. 2Dayfm has a bad history of inappropriate broadcasting, it`s time someone came down hard on them & they stop scraping the bottom of the IQ barrel when selecting their supposed shock jocks.

3 Nathan { 12.08.12 at 10:39 pm }

You think the hospital would have something in place to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

4 Reality Raver { 12.08.12 at 10:57 pm }

Nathan – The Mirror article that I linked to at the bottom of the blog post is interesting. A former detective said royal security protocols were not used which is why it occurred.

5 Carole { 12.09.12 at 8:40 am }

Yeah, the whole thing is just tragic. When they made world headlines the other day, they both probably thought their careers were about to take off. Now this tragedy has happened, the exact opposite will probably happen. It is easy to point fingers at them, but no one knows what was going on in that poor girls life. Pranks like these are done all the time on radio, but they aren’t usually to famous people and make world headlines. They themselves expressed shock and surprise that they actually got through and expected to get hung up on. The same happened to the Chaser’s when they got through to the OPEC summit a few years back. They had expected to get stopped and never imagined they would get as far as they did.

6 Nathan { 12.09.12 at 9:20 am }

It’s not the time to be pointing fingers but the staff at the hospital should have been briefed about royal protocols and obviously they weren’t. This left the nurse vulnerable and exposed. It seems like she bore the brunt of poor management. However, you wouldn’t think this would be enough to kill yourself but you don’t know the full story and she probably felt like the whole world was laughing at her. I don’t think the DJ’s are entirely to blame because they couldn’t have possibly foreseen what was about to unfold.

7 Carole { 12.09.12 at 9:42 am }

And the English media are the biggest fucking hypocrites of all. They are calling for blood, and how many people have they trashed over the years in their papers? And they have tricked people too, they tricked Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie into giving information about the Royal Family and did something similar to Fergie a while ago. They are the last people to throw stones!!! They make me sick.

8 nanaliz { 12.09.12 at 9:44 am }

I agree with Nathan, the hospital has a lot to answer for. That hospital CEO is trying to blame the DJ’s to cover his part in the poor management and what his part in “speaking” to the nurses involved. It is sad about the nurse but we don’t know her state of mind prior to the incident. The fact remain that protocol at the hospital was not followed. The DJ’s didn’t think they would get through and should not be blamed for what has followed. The CEO and management at the hospital should be sacked.

9 Nathan { 12.09.12 at 12:36 pm }

There is still something that irks me about this whole thing. Lord Simon Glenarthur writes a scathing letter to Austereo condemning their actions when he should be looking at himself and questioning his own part in this. Take responsibility! Apparently a former worker has said she was disciplined for having “wispy” hair and wearing her uniform on the street. I can only imagine what the nurse received or was about to receive from management before taking her own life.

10 brain dead dave { 12.09.12 at 12:46 pm }

Dickens would have said- “It was the best of pranks and it was the worst of pranks”.

Prince Charles thought it was funny the other day.

If what I saw on ABC 24 that the British media are sending their dogs down under here to find these two in hiding DJ’s is true, more could happen yet.

The 2day FM Christmas party is not shaping up too well.

11 daisy { 12.09.12 at 1:33 pm }

They are responsible for their own actions only. They invaded the privacy of the Royal family by impersonating its members. They may be responsible for making that nurse feel bad but as for being responsible for her suicide, I don’t think so. It’s just so unfortunate that they work in an industry that rewards schlock…until it backfires. I imagine the more you stir the pot, the more you get paid.

12 daisy { 12.09.12 at 1:35 pm }

But BDD@10 You said it best. Concise as usual.

13 Abc { 12.09.12 at 2:43 pm }

I don’t think it’s very considerate to prank call a hospital and ask about an ill patient.

14 daisy { 12.09.12 at 2:49 pm }

Abc Agreed. It’s worse than inconsiderate but it’ll do for starters.

15 Carole { 12.09.12 at 3:06 pm }

Yeah, I saw that too on the Today Show that the English hounds are on their way here. They are scum of the earth.

16 Georgie { 12.09.12 at 3:13 pm }

So if one of the DJ’s tops themselves over the fallout from their prank, will all those apportioning blame and baying for blood, feel responsible?

17 A.P { 12.09.12 at 3:15 pm }

I think it would have been obvious that The Queen would never ring the hospital personally like that, it would be a royal secretary doing it or perhaps there would be a direct line in Kate’s room as well.
The Queen would refer to herself as Her Majesty I reckon and she would ask about the welfare of The Duchess of Cambridge, not ” Kate, my granddaughter “. She is not her granddaughter at all.
I’m sorry about the nurse too but I don’t think any training is necessary for common sense to at least check with someone before putting them through to the nurse’s station.
As far as the pranking goes, I thought it was illegal to broadcast live someone’s conversation without their knowledge or permission?

18 Carole { 12.09.12 at 6:17 pm }

Yeah AP, I was thinking the same thing when it all came out, the Queen wouldn’t ring herself she would have someone do it for her. That was how ludicrous the whole thing was, the DJ’s themselves were surprised that they got through. And you’re right, it was illegal to broadcast it without permission. I don’t know if you are familiar with The Hoopla website, but Wendy Harmer, a former DJ with 2DayFM wrote an interesting article about the rules for broadcasting these type of prank calls.

19 A.P { 12.09.12 at 7:09 pm }

Carole, no I am not familiar with that website so thanks for the info.
Its strange that not much has been made of that part of the story and also the second nurse either as she was the one who gave out the personal stuff.
The hospital seems to be putting all the blame on the radio station instead of themselves.
As far as the media goes, yes they can be intrusive but in the case of Fergie, she brought a lot of that stuff herself, going right back to the toe sucking incident!

20 abc { 12.09.12 at 9:07 pm }

@A.P.
It wasn’t broadcast live it was pre-recorded

21 Eliza { 12.10.12 at 1:15 am }

Finally! Some reasonable comments on this horrible situation rather than people just mindlessly calling for ‘blood’. Do they not realise that they are just doing to the radio DJs what they inadvertently or not did to the nurse?! My thoughts have been along the same lines as most of you here – sure, pranks are silly and childish but one would not think that such a series of events would unfold. Once they got through, 2dayFM should not have broadcast the prank as it was a breach of privacy so it is the execs fault, not the DJs that it was broadcast. I agree that they would not have expected in a million yrs to get through, let alone be fed such information on Kate’s health. It is convenient for the hospital to now be able to pass the blame on to the DJs – put the focus on them rather than the fact that they had no procedures in place to deal with such situations. Ridiculous if you ask me when they have a history of looking after the royal family. What if it were just a couple of young children doing a prank call.. who would they blame then?

I agree 100%, Georgie – I cannot image what the DJs must be going through right now. I think it is bad enough they have to live with what has happened, whilst being vilified by people around the world. What if they too decide that they can no longer go on? Will those people who have so angrily voiced their opinions via social media being cheering in the streets. They too are people with families. It is terrible what has happened but the blame cannot be placed upon them.

The DJs are just two scapegoats for the organisations who should be held accountable. As BDD pointed out, even Prince Charles thought the prank to be initially funny, however now that the situation has turned sour, the fingers of blame come out. How are people so quick to judge as though they have never done anything which could be more reasonably thought to cause harm to another human being than a prank call. Thoughtless actions are always deemed ok until someone gets hurt – the father who speeds on his way home from work who thinks it is ok until his daughter is seriously injured by someone doing the same thing.

The blame game needs to stop and action needs to be taken by both 2dayFM and the hospital. Also, who knows what else was going on in the nurse’s life at the time? This whole thing irks me too, Nathan… The right people need to take responsibility.

Thank you all for some commonsensical comments!

22 A.P { 12.10.12 at 6:57 am }

ABC @20, fair enough, but even if it was recorded which I found out later, they still didn’t have the permission of those two nurses involved to broadcast it did they?
It really is a silly thing to do , to have a joke at someone else’s expense who is just innocently doing their job and things went terribly wrong which no one could have predicted.

23 Carole { 12.10.12 at 8:28 am }

From what I can gather from what they have been saying on the TV, the DJ’s were fairly new and inexperienced, and it wasn’t their decision to play it, it was an executive from the radio station who gave the ok, but they get off scot free. And the UK gutter press make my blood boil they way they are carrying on. Considering some of he stuff they have done over the years, who the hell are they to act all holier than thou and make threats against them. And you’re right Eliza, the hospital has been dealing with the Royal family for years, you would think they would have protocol for such things and all staff would be aware of it.

24 Joseph Skyrim { 12.10.12 at 9:24 am }

I like it how people keep saying it’s something “no one could have predicted”. Death is always a possibility. It doesn’t even have to be suicide you know, could be some crazed royalist viewed the nurses transgression as a crime against the crown and decided to go murder her to prevent future lapses of judgement. The funny thing about that scenario is that it is STILL the DJs that instigated the action.

Another example: You know that joke where they get someone in an elevator, make the lights go out and have a little girl sneak in to scare the bejeezus out of the person? They’ve been lucky to not have a violent person in there or that kid could be seriously injured all because they were trying to get a laugh. Not everyone will react by freezing on the spot.

Like the DJs, it wouldn’t really be the kid’s fault – but since she’s the “front man” so to speak most of the risk is on her even though the responsibility is shared too by their handlers.

25 Carole { 12.10.12 at 9:48 am }

I guess hindsight is a wonderful thing. A friend of mine said the other day, the stupidest thing people say is, I just didn’t think. No one thinks of the consequences when they do these things. But prank calls have been being made for decades on radio all over the world. But they never make world news. This just happened to made to a high profile person and had a tragic outcome, so the whole world is talking about it. You go to youtube and it is full of practical jokes. I was shown one the other day, a lady comes home carrying shopping bags, there is a man, presumably a friend of hers, standing right behind her as she totally oblivious unpacks her groceries. She turns around, sees him and runs screaming out of the house onto the road where a car runs her over. I don’t know if it’s real or pretend, but that guy would not have thought that would happen.

26 Joseph Skyrim { 12.10.12 at 9:54 am }

I like it when the pranksters get what’s coming to them. Like the one where a dude in a scary mask pops out of a wheelie bin to scare his friend. The friend smashes him in the face as soon as he appears. Now THAT is funny.

As for not thinking about consequences. Yah sure. Doesn’t mean they aren’t accountable though.

27 Carole { 12.10.12 at 8:26 pm }

Just watched the interview on ACA. Can’t help but feel for them. It was only meant to be harmless fun, with no malicious intent. They are clearly devastated and remorseful of the outcome. They have to live with that for the rest of their lives.

28 A.P { 12.10.12 at 8:48 pm }

Yes, I just saw it too and felt very sorry for them both. There are no winners in this at all, its sad.

29 Daisy { 12.10.12 at 9:14 pm }

Me too, AP. It was down to the radio bosses not to air it. Those DJS are not much more than kids.

30 Gabby { 12.10.12 at 11:37 pm }

It is a terrible, terrible thing that has happened from a stupid prank. I do not blame the D.J’s I blame the powers that be that did not get the permission from the nurses to go ahead and broadcast the prank. They said they phoned five times and got no answer, well sorry, not good enough. No answer is no answer, so that means no permission, so you are not permitted to broadcast their voices. Surely someone has to stand accountable for that! Sadly it will be too little too late for the poor nurse and her family.

31 brain dead dave { 12.10.12 at 11:41 pm }

“They wasn’t being wicked Lord, it was their idea of fun”

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