This is desperately sad. The nurse who was fooled by the 2dayFM radio prank call has been found dead. She is suspected to have committed suicide. If you’re unfamiliar with the story (see the link below), a Sydney radio show (on the 2dayFM network) called the London hospital where Kate Middleton (Prince William’s wife) was receiving treatment for severe morning sickness and tried to get information on her condition. The nurse who answered the call was fooled by the prank. I’m sure you can guess the rest.
There have been many and mixed reactions to this story this morning. Some reactions are of sadness and sympathy. Some people are violently angry at the DJs responsible (who have cancelled their twitter accounts due to this). On that note, I’d like to share a tweet from comedian Greg Fleet:
“Not DJ’s fault. When i did 2day fm they made me do a prank call that made the recipient cry. I dont dig prank C’s.”
I particularly liked this tweet from ABC News Intern:
“No one is served by vicious retribution when a prank without malice goes wrong.”
I also like this tweet by Lucy Carter:
“I think at this point, laying into those 2Day FM hosts doesn’t help the situation. I’m guessing they’re feeling every bit of this.”
I think we need to look at the culture of radio and ask why radio management teams keep pressing these ideas (prank calls) and making their DJs do them. Apparently this is a form of entertainment people want, the ratings prove it. Personally I hate prank calls. I think they’re lame, the opposite of clever, and they just serve to humiliate people. I honestly don’t get it. They’re mean spirited. Even if the intention isn’t to humiliate, it’s a necessary outcome. Ignorance doesn’t excuse this. It’s not like prank calls are a new phenomenon.
However, having said that, I don’t think anyone could have predicted this level of tragedy in response to such a stupid idea.
I guess the moral of the story (if there is just one) is to think about others. 2dayFM management didn’t think about Jacintha Saldanha (the nurse) when planning this prank, nor the privacy of William & Kate, nor the DJs who would have to do the prank call. The people responding with vitriol aren’t thinking about how pained and remorseful those DJs must now be, nor what their responses might be doing to Jacintha’s family.
The way to stop this sort of stuff is to switch off. They keep doing it because people keep listening.
This is an horrific situation. Let’s stop humiliating people for ‘entertainment’. We’re better than that.