The Today Network is facing one of the largest crises in the radio network’s history after the nurse who was taken in by an on-air prank is reported to have killed herself.
According to reports in the UK, Jacintha Saldanha was the nurse who had transferred the call from Summer 30 presenters Mel Greig and Michael “MC” Christian.
The pair put on comedy voices and pretended to be The Queen and Prince Charles seeking information about the Princess’ acute morning sickness. After the nurse on the switchboard put them through, another gave out the information.
The Today Network’s lawyers vetted the content of the call before the recording was broadcast.
Greig and Christian have been taken off the air. This morning the owner of the Today Network, Southern Cross Austereo issued the following 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. SCA 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.”
The tragedy is likely to see the Today Network facing one of its worst public perception issues yet. Previous on-air controversies involving the network have focused on The Kyle & Jackie O Show, presented by Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O. The duo saw a lie detector test on a teenage girl go wrong when she blurted out that she had been raped. And there was a backlash against Sandilands when he labelled a News Limited journalist a “piece of shit”.
The Facebook page for the Today Network’s Sydney station 2Day FM is being bombarded with angry comments from around the world. At the time of posting, there are already thousands.