Australian ‘royal hoax’ DJ sues network

Rappler.com
The DJ claims the company fostered a dangerous working environment

JOKE'S ON WHOM? Mel Greig (right), one of the DJs behind the 'royal prank call,' accuses her radio station's company of not providing a safe workplace. AFP PHOTO / NINE NETWORK 'A CURRENT AFFAIR'

MANILA, Philippines – One of the Australian DJs behind the “royal hoax” prank call accused her radio station of failing to provide a safe working environment.

In December 2012, Mel Greig and her fellow DJ Michael Christian pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles when they called the London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for severe morning sickness.

The nurse who took the call, Jacintha Saldanha, transferred the call to another nurse who divulged confidential information about the Duchess’ condition. The call was then broadcasted by their Australia-based radio station, 2Day FM. 

Listen to the prank call here:

News of the prank spread with many criticizing the DJs for the “tasteless” and “cruel” trick. A few days later, Saldanha killed herself

A “shocked” Greig and Christian apologized for the prank. The station cancelled the segment that aired the prank call and pledged US$523,600 for Saldanha’s family.

Dangerous gimmicks

Greig, who has not returned to 2Day FM ever since the prank call, is filing charges against the station’s mother company, Southern Cross Austereo.

The DJ’s lawyer told The Guardian that “a general protections application has been filed with Fair Work Australia on behalf of Mel Greig against Southern Cross Austereo. The application alleges Southern Cross Austereo failed to maintain a safe workplace.”

Australian lawyer Anthony Carbone told the Sydney Morning Herald that Greig’s claim is bolstered by Austereo’s widely-known gimmicks which include duping listeners into thinking a presenter is dead and a fake police claim encouraging dangerous driving.

”It goes to the heart of what kind of workplace Mel was working in. Did Austereo condone and encourage the pranks? Did they promote bad conduct?” he said.

”They’re fostering a culture which is questionable at best. At worst, it appears they’re encouraging what could be illegal behavior.”

The fact that the broadcasting company aired the prank call will also be considered.

Conciliation meetings between Greig and Southern Cross Austereo will begin in September. If the parties do not come to an agreement, the case will be taken to court.

Christian, the other DJ, has returned to the radio station and was controversially named its “top DJ.” – With reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com 

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