Prank DJs too distraught for The Project

2DAY FM hosts Michael Christian and Mel Greig appeared on A Current Affair and Today Tonight on Monday but didn’t appear on The Project as planned.

Both Tracy Grimshaw and Clare Brady asked the pair if they were up for the interview prior to it beginning. Both said yes and both were moved to tears in giving answers.

But a spokesperson said they were too distraught to appear on The Project as planned.

Instead Southern Cross Austereo CEO Rhys Holleran fronted to express the network’s regret.

Holleran reiterated the view that nobody could have predicted the outcome, that sympathy for the family was paramount and that it was a tragic set of circumstances. He has also maintained the station followed checks and balances in broadcasting the prank call and didn’t believe it breached any law.

As Jonathan Holmes told 7:30  last night the ACMA Code requires the consent of the person being recorded before it can be broadcast.

But what has received little attention is the loophole that ACMA’s jurisdiction is understood to cover Australian territory. As the call was made in the UK, 2DAY FM is able to maintain the company line that it has followed the law.

2DAY FM declined an interview request from 7:30.

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  1. Interesting how everyone’s concerned about the welfare of the two DJs when there’s a nurse who’s now dead because she was not afforded the same courtesy.

  2. Who knows what any of us will say to someone that will be the last straw for a person’s sanity? In this instance it was a misguided prank. The deceased woman just transferred the call. She gave no information. Perhaps it was what was said to her by her superiors that broke her.

  3. i can’t see how the DJ’s were to blame, unless they were lying about that its managments decision which pranks go to air. If an actor is doing their job playing a part in a tv show that offends in some way do we blame the actor? no, because we know its up to the tv station if they air something that is pre recorded. I can’t see how this is any different, they were doing their jobs, its not as if they were such big stars they could order producers to air what they recorded or not, its then out of their hands.
    I also didn’t find them fake & i have alot of sympathy for them because i really believe when they said there was no mailce intended on their part. Pranks happen all the time, people get humiliated but most don’t go & take their own lives over it, and as already said, maybe she was going to anyway & this just was the final straw, which they were not to know.
    The management should have known not to mess with the royal family, that of course it would make world headlines, & especially a British press already biased against Australians would be all over it. They just didn’t think through the wider consequences, but i find it hard to believe their claims they tried to call the hospital 5 times.

  4. I watched the Project interview last night, I felt this was a stronger and more hard hitting interview. Without needing to spare feelings for the two DJ’s the panel were able to ask harder questions to SC Austereo CEO.

    Reports in the Fairfax newspapers suggest that the 7:30 request for an interview was rejected because it was not commercial TV- that the interview was for commercial reasons (aimed towards advertisers, investors). Unfortunately while this attitude exists there will always be the suspicion that Austereo are trying to protect its own patch.

  5. While I feel for the family of the nurse, no one has even stopped to consider why this lady took her own life. It’s all easy to assume that it was a direct result of the prank. But what if this lady was planning to do that anyway? It’s easy to make scapegoats, to always make sense of a situation. But do we demand the head of a lover who ends a relationship that prompts a suicide from the heartbroken?? ….

  6. jezza the first original one

    The one hard question I would have like to see, is asking them who their bosses are, y’know programme director, producer….decision makers. They fudged the answer on this and neither TT or ACA, pushed hard enough.

    There are people involved in this who are hiding like cowards and staying anonymous IMO.

    This is not something that can be put right. All involved need to take some responsibility and make changes for their futures….and the faceless execs should also be in the public arena

  7. The interviewson TT and ACA were indeed soft. Any relevant questions were brushed aside (“I dont remember who told me …”, “We followed the process …”, “At this point we are only thinking about the victim …”, etc). They would have been given a proper grilling under 7.30.

    Mel did seem genuinely remorseful – cant say the same about Michael.

    RIP Jacintha.

  8. Unlike thousands of others – I do NOT blame the two DJs for causing the death of the nurse.

    2Day FM is notorious for DJs behaving badly – remember Kyle Sandilands? -and they don’t seem to have learnt anything.

    This tragedy could have been avoided if the station had just asked the nurses for their consent before airing the prank call.

    If they didn’t consent – then it would never have been aired.

    Claiming that they called the hospital 5 times is not an acceptable defence. They failed to get consent and now must accept some responsiblity for the apparent tragic suicide of one nurse. I sure hope the other nurse is getting counselling and support.

  9. @ Batterstyle & Kylie –
    I didn’t watch the whole interview (I’ve had enough of this whole sorry mess) but the excerpts I saw on the ABC were not convincing and bear out Batterstyles opinion (tho’ not quite to the extent of sobbing violins). There seemed to be an element of ‘acting’ about it, especially the way the tears disappeared when shifting responsibility onto management. “We only (!) did the prank call – the decision to show it was management’s ” is the most nauseating buck-passing I’ve heard since the Nazi’s ‘we were only following orders” defence.

  10. What David said. The recording was made in Australia by Australians working for an Australian radio station and then broadcast on that station. I’d say it’s far from cut-and-dried altho’, at the time, 2Day’s/Austereo’s lawyers presumably thought that they were in the clear.

    Not taking anything away from the TT/ACA i/v’s (didn’t watch) but it is interesting that Austereo didn’t have the nuts to front up to Leigh Sales.

  11. It is not a loophole. A law can only apply where it has legal jurisdiction. Any Australian law that applied to the UK would ruled invalid, just as UK law is invalid here (well mostly its more complicated because UK was valid here in the past). Otherwise you could pass a law in Mali and try to use it for amputating limbs for shoplifting in Australia.

    Of course anybody who was being responsible would ever have recorded anything without the person being aware (or a warrant) and certainly would not broadcast something for entertainment without consent. .

  12. @Batterstyle – Unless I was watching a different interview (saw TT and ACA) – they did apologise, they did say it was innocent and no harm intended.

    I found them very sincere and obviously heartbroken for the part they may have played in this sad sad turn of events.

  13. Holmes was horrible in his interview. He was evasive with his answers, which were the same for every question (“‘Nobody could have predicted it”), whether or not it was even relevant. And he refused to take any responsibility whatsoever. Whenever a question about his own actions came up he said something along the lines of “We shouldn’t blame these two individuals”, but by answering the questions about himself (not the two presenters) in this fashion he’s doing exactly that by implication. All he’s interested in is covering his arse.

  14. I thought the interview last night looked rehearsed. The respose and reactions of the 2 were copy book for the sympathy vote. I nearly heard violins gently playing in the background! They looked and sounded fake. SC Austereo are in full damage control mode. I would have rathered they just said there was no intention of harm and they are sorry this happened, but they didn’t make the nurse do commit suicide and in hindisght it was a stuipid prank. Hopefully now these hurtfull horrible antics will fade into oblivion.

  15. #1. The ACA/TT interviews were for no benefit other than austereo.
    #2. The interviewers on both 7 and 9 mollycoddled the interviewees to ensure the ‘”media’s” interests were protected.
    #3 Austereo was going no where near the 7:30 program because they knew they would get no sympathy.

    Seems strange to me that some Australian cows can be mistreated in Indonesia and the minister shuts down live cattle export. Some Australian sheep get mistreated in Pakistan and the minister launches an immediate inquiry. A trawler comes to sweep up Australian fish and the minister launches an embargo. A woman dies immediately following a prank call from two Australian moppets and the minister (you know the one ~ the one who says he can make telcos run around with red underwear on their head) immediately backs off.

    Wow, that ‘free press’ thing I keep hearing about must be pretty powerful.

    • The suggestion that the two had soft interviews by either Tracy Grimshaw or Clare Brady is bizarre. Both asked questions we all wanted to put to them. I suspect the branding of the show is getting in the way of what was actually aired.

  16. The prank was for Australian audiences. Most countries never published the topless photos of Kate so maybe the UK should of returned the favor and not aired the prank.

  17. They were happy to go on tabloid trash ACA and TT but too scared to face 7.30 just in case a journalist snuck in a question? Pure crisis management from the radio station

  18. The vast majority of prank calls are done by Austereo stations Bailey. I don’t think DMG stations ever do prank calls for example.

    And this wasn’t just a prank call, it was calling a hospital to find out private details of an ill, pregnant woman. If it was TMZ or a British tabloid who did that no one would be calling it a prank.

  19. J Bar – are you serious! The station crossed the line? Mind explaining how a prank call is crossing the line. It has been done for years, both almost all FM radio stations and for that matter alot of television shows. This was a tragic accident that no one could foresee. It is ridiculous that it continues to gain the news coverage that it is. Her family should be allowed to grieve in peace and the witch hunt going on against the Dj’s and the station more generally needs to stop. Everyone needs to take a chill pill.

  20. I was disappointed hosts Michael Christian and Mel Greig did not accept responsibility for their actions. Both hosts put the onus of the broadcast of the prank call on the “other people” and I find it disturbing they do not know “the process”. This is just another example of the type of “talent”, I use that word loosely, Austereo are breeding.

  21. This was probably the more relevant interview anyway. The CEO is the one who is accountable for the culture that has been created at this radio station that continues to hit the headlines for crossing the line and not following guidelines.

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