In a tearful TV interview today, Australian radio DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig expressed their regret for a prank that may have played a role in the suicide of a nurse at the hospital that treated the pregnant Kate Middleton last week.
“There’s nothing that can make me feel worse than what I feel right now. And for what I feel for the family. We’re so sorry that this has happened to them,” Greig told Today Tonight, when asked whether she felt like the object of a witch hunt after the apparent suicide of Jacintha Saldanha, 46, the nurse working as a receptionist who put the DJs’ call through to the nurse treating the Duchess of Cambridge.
While seeming very sorry for the aftermath of the prank — in which they called Edward VII Hospital pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles — the 2Day FM hosts said they never intended for things to go as far as they did. “The call to begin with wasn’t about speaking to Kate,” Christian said. “It wasn’t about trying to get a scoop or anything. The call was just –– I mean we’d assumed that we’d be hung up on and that’d be that.”
Greig added, “You know it was designed to be stupid. We were never meant to get that far from the little corgies barking in the background — we obviously wanted it to be a joke.”
“And I suppose, you know the joke was always on us, not anyone else,” Christian continued. “It wasn’t about trying to fool someone. I mean we just assumed that with the voices that we put on, you know, we were going to get told off and that was the gag — in us.”
Both hosts appeared to want to emphasize how much more they care about the well-being of Saldanha’s family than their own reputations now. Asked if they planned to continue their DJ careers, Greig said, “I don’t want to think about that right now. There’s bigger, more pressing issues and that’s making sure that family gets through this tough time. You know our careers aren’t important at the moment.
“I’m just so devastated for them,” she added of Saldanha’s family, including her husband and two children. “I’m really feeling for them.”
[Photo: Australia's Today Tonight]