Royal hoax DJ Mel Grieg blames her employers for nurse’s death – but that’s ridiculous
JACINTHA Saldanha blamed the DJS who tricked her for her suicide in December 2012. The 46-year-old mother of two took a hoax call while working at King Edward VII’s Hospital, London, where Kate Middleton had been undergoing treatment for acute morning sickness. In her suicide note, she blamed Michael Christian and Mel Greig for her state of mind.
Allegedly, the deceased was a depressive who had tried to end her life before.
So. What happened next? Well, her family were forced to get over a terrible loss.
In June, one of the pranksters, DJ Christian, was given the “top jock” award at the Southern Cross Austereo network, which still employs him. He was thrilled, stating:
“From the start I felt like I had something to prove to myself. That regardless of all that’s happened in the past few months I’m still at the top of my game. So it felt good to see my name at the top of the final leader board.”
Mel Greig won no awards. Like Christian, she was suspended before getting her job back. Now she’s suing Southern Cross Australia, her employer, for “failing to provide a safe workplace over her involvement in the prank”.
You see, it wasn’t her fault. She wasn’t a ratings-hungry DJ working under her own wit. It was them. Not her.
Greig, 31, has lodged her claim with Australia’s Fair Work Commission. She’s been on leave since the furore broke. The last time we saw her was when she went on TV to offer a teary apology in an interview. But now she’s back in the news.
Ms Greig’s lawyer, Steven Lewis, tells the Adelaide Advertiser:
“I can confirm that a general protections application has been filed with Fair Work Australia on behalf of Mel Greig against Southern Cross Austereo alleging the radio station failed to maintain a safe workplace.”
The DJ’s pal says it’s been a “really difficult situation” for Ms Greig.
It must be. No-one sane likes to think they killed an innocent human being. No-one likes strangers to call for them to be maimed and murdered, as happened when members of the Twitter mob reacted to the story.
But this story is not one of simple cause and effect.
Prince Charles joked about the call, telling one reporter, “How do you know I’m not a radio station?” But when Mrs Saldanha was found dead what went before was cast in gloom.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said:
“It is deeply saddening that a simple human error due to a cruel hoax could lead to the death of a dedicated and caring member of the nursing profession.”
To recap: the two DJs called the hospital pretending to be Prince Charles and The Queen. One of them pretended to be a yapping Corgi. The receptionist bought it. And so too did the duty nurse, who told them Kate was a bit sick. Was that cruel? No. It was asinine and silly.
But the call was the catalyst for a woman’s suicide. But was it really the sole cause? Can blame be so easily attributed? Some, as we have seen, say it can be. And Mel Greig seems to agree. She blames her employers. The compensation culture demands a clear story.
Nadine Dorries MP asked:
“How many paps and journalists were hanging round that poor nurse’s house? How many made her feel sick and scared?’”
None that we could see. But blame was being sought. Who needs facts?
What happened was a tragic chain of events and coincidences. It was not simple cause and effect. For Greig to blame her employers is as unfair as those who blamed her.