Thursday 14 December 2017

Prankster DJs bombarded with online abuse

Jennifer Cockerell and Neil Lancefield

2Day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian, whose initial apology for the prank call to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge was followed by further boasts about it, have been bombarded with online abuse following the news that nurse Jacintha Saldanha has died.

The pair remarked during their Hot30 Countdown show how their efforts were the "easiest prank call ever made".

The duo have continued to boast about the gag on Twitter while in a video on the radio station's website they laugh and joke about it.

Greig giggles: "They were the worst accents ever and when we made that phone call, we were sure 100 people at least before us would have tried the same thing."

Sitting beside her in what appears to be their studio, Christian adds: "We got through and now the entire world is talking."

Meanwhile, a banner on the radio station's website continues to proclaims it to be the "biggest royal prank ever".

The pair, who only began hosting the nightly chart show earlier this year, were clearly delighted with the amount of publicity the gag had given them.

Greig, whose Twitter profile proclaims: "I co-host the Hot30 Countdown and Hot30 TV, I attempted to race around the world on the Amazing Race Australia and I have a half decent rack", has continued to tweet about the global reaction to the prank over the past few days.

Earlier, Christian wrote on the site: "Just a show of hands... Who's heard/seen our #RoyalPrank?"

In their earlier apology for the call, the presenters said: "We were very surprised that our call was put through. 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."

The prank call was pre-recorded and vetted by lawyers before being broadcast to listeners in Sydney.

A spokeswoman for the station said: "2Day FM sincerely apologises for any inconvenience caused by the inquiries to Kate's hospital.

"The radio segment was done with lighthearted intentions. We wish Kate and her family all the best and we're glad to hear she's doing well."

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said it has received complaints about the gag.

A statement on its website said: "The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) has received complaints overnight regarding the 2Day FM prank call to the King Edward VII Hospital in London.

"Under the co-regulatory model, code complaints should first go to the licensee. If a complainant is dissatisfied with the response, then a complaint can be made to the ACMA."

It is not the first time the radio station has got into trouble with the ACMA for its broadcasts.

In 2009 a 14-year-old girl was pushed into revealing she had been raped while attached to a lie detector live on air.

Earlier this year presenter Kyle Sandilands was found to have breached the decency provisions of the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice after he called a journalist "a fat slag" and told her "watch your mouth or I'll hunt you down" on his radio show.

Angry Twitter users called for Greig and Christian to lose their jobs over the incident.

One user, Alison Hassell, told Greig: "If you have any kind of conscience or morals..... Right about now you should be typing your resignation."

Scott Ashworth tweeted: "You scumbag, hope you get what's coming to you!", while another user, Michael Hird, wrote: "I hope you're happy now.. The receptionist you rang has COMMITTED SUICIDE! You have blood on your hands now!"

Greig also received what appeared to be threats on the social networking site.

Costas Loizou swore at the presenter and ended his message: "I might start calling your mum and leaving fact expect one on xmas day...."

Other users directed abuse at her co-presenter Christian. Justine Daniel told him the hoax was a "sick joke" and added: "Hope you're banished from being on air forever."

Peter Timmins wrote: "There are no words to describe the disgust that everyone else is feeling about the prank you thought so funny."

Sinead Gavaghan called him a "vile, stupid creature" while Chris Campbell claimed: "You should be fired and the station shut down."

Both presenters later appeared to have closed down their Twitter accounts.

Greig landed the radio job after appearing on reality show The Amazing Race Australia, which pits teams of two in a race around the world.

She took part in the challenge last year with her younger sister, Alana Munday, after the pair had spent some years apart when Greig had left home at the age of 15.

In an interview with the Courier Mail last year, Greig said: "I ran away from home.

"It was just a bit tough at home. I decided to leave.

"When you leave, you have to leave everything behind and cut it off.

"I never put Alana or my family first. I put my career and then a boyfriend first."

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