The Worst Ending

article-2244608-16662441000005DC-7_634x395This 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.

A link to the story:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-08/nurse-who-took-kate-prank-call-found-dead/4416348

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.”

article-2244608-1660C2D5000005DC-569_634x441I 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.

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2 Replies to “The Worst Ending”

  1. I have issues with the way this story is being twisted around. I’m not having a go at you here, it’s just the wording being used by people writing about it, and it seems as though the wording is being used to justify the position.

    The radio presenters didn’t set out to humiliate anyone at all, and certainly in their dealings with the nurse didn’t humiliate her. They put on bad English accents and asked to be put through to Kate. The nurse did her job and put them through to the next person in the line.

    Now the nurse may have felt humiliated at being pranked, but she was doing her job, and doing it correctly. The radio presenters didn’t make fun of her, be malicious in any way towards her, they simply asked to be transferred. At no point in time should they be blamed for the tragic end of Ms. Saldanha’s life, but it is very convenient for people to do so.

    In a way it’s blaming the straw that broke the Carmel’s back while ignoring all the other bits of straw, and the affect they are having. The hospital took no action, the radio station and presenters apologised (in some way or another, depending on who you speak to), the royal family themselves joke about the matter, the other nurse who gave out far more information and had greater dealings with the prank, so why did Ms. Saldanha take her life? I don’t think it was because of this, I just think this is one piece in a string of events in her life that lead to her doing what she did. It is sad, it is tragic, it shouldn’t have happened, but we can’t blame that on a phone call.

    1. I’m not blaming the DJs for her death. Not at all. I have no doubt she had other things going on. However, she was all of a sudden an international subject of ridicule. That must be humiliating! If someone is already unbalanced, or depressed, this is something that can definitely send someone over the edge. The point about prank calling is that you have no idea about the condition of the anonymous person you’re doing it to.

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