UK & World News

  • 8 December 2012, 2:21

Kate Prank Call: 2Day FM Faces Backlash

A supermarket giant has pulled the plug on royal prank call radio station 2Day FM after the death of a nurse from the hospital that treated the Duchess of Cambridge.

Coles announced that it informed the station's management it would be removing all advertising from the station as soon as possible.

In a separate move, Australia's broadcasting regulator says it will be quizzing the owners of 2DayFM over the incident.

"We understand Australians are clearly angry and upset by what appear to be tragic consequences of the 2Day FM UK hospital prank,'' the supermarket said on its Facebook page.

"We have instructed 2Day FM to remove all Coles group advertising from the station.''

The radio presenters who made the prank call to the hospital have been taken off the air until further notice.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian were said to be "deeply shocked" by the tragedy, which has provoked an angry backlash against them on the internet.

The pair, who work for 2Day FM in Australia, and the radio station's parent company Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) decided together that they should stay off air.

The company said in a statement: "Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII's Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world.

"Chief Executive Officer Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters. They are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances.

" SoutSouuSCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy."

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead on Friday morning, days after receiving the prank call and putting it through to a nurse on Kate's ward.

Greig impersonated the Queen and Christian mimicked Prince Charles and they managed to elicit details about the pregnant Duchess' medical condition.

A fierce online storm erupted as soon as news of the nurse's death emerged, with both presenters bombarded by messages on Twitter and the radio station's own comment section deluged.

At the time, the station's website had still been promoting the video of the prank call but this was later removed.

Online critics called for the presenters to resign and some claimed they had "blood on their hands".

On the radio's comment section, Gordon Stanley wrote: "You presenters are a disgrace to your country, the media profession and society in general. This is one of the most inappropriate 'pranks' imaginable."

On Twitter, another critic wrote: "Your DJ's tried to get private information for a big joke and now the person who took the call has committed suicide. What is it still doing on the website? Sick."

Martin Duncan added: "Absolutely appalled at the death of #JacinthaSaldanha. Michael Christian and Mel Greig hang your heads in shame!"

Cazzy Chic said: "So sad. Let this be a lesson to us all. Your idea of a 'prank', may be the undoing of someone more fragile than you. RIP."

"Not so darn funny now is it? A British nurse is DEAD for the sake of a couple of cheap laughs. Shame on you!," wrote Kim Wilson.

An online petition calling for the pair to be sacked for "gross misconduct" has already attracted more than 1,300 signatures.

Greig and Christian have both deleted their Twitter accounts because of the onslaught.

The presenters had earlier issued an apology after making the call but also milked the publicity by claiming it was "the biggest royal prank ever".

"We thought we'd be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents. We're very sorry if we've caused any issues and we're glad to hear that Kate is doing well," they said.

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