Australian royal prank DJ Mel Greig settles case, resigns
An Australian DJ whose royal prank call to a London hospital resulted in the suicide of a nurse has settled her workplace lawsuit with the network and resigned.
Mel Greig also won a public concession from her employer, Southern Cross Austereo, that she had not been responsible for broadcasting the call and had suggested it be edited before being aired.
“Mel Greig wishes to make it clear that, as an announcer, she was not responsible for the decision to broadcast the hoax call,” Austereo said in a statement published late on Wednesday.
“Prior to the call being broadcast she made suggestions for changes to be made to the recording of the call. (Sydney radio station) 2Day FM decided that the call should be broadcast without alteration.”
The network said it had “at all times taken complete responsibility for the hoax call” and “greatly regrets the unforeseeable tragic aftermath”.
The concessions were made in an announcement from Austereo that it had “amicably resolved” an industrial tribunal case with Greig, who had filed a workplace safety complaint over the prank.
The DJ, who has been on an extended leave of absence, had also resigned effective on December 31, Austereo said.
Greig endured a global backlash after the death of Indian-born hospital nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who was found hanged three days after transferring a hoax call to staff caring for Prince William’s pregnant wife Kate Middleton.
Posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles on the phone, Greig and co-host Michael Christian, from Southern Cross Austereo, were able to get details of Middleton’s condition on air.
Austereo said it had contributed a “substantial” sum to a trust recently set up to help Saldanha’s family, adding that Greig “also wishes to pass on her personal condolences and regrets to the Saldanha family”.
“Ms Greig intends to provide a statement to the UK coroner’s inquest and Southern Cross Austereo will continue to fully co-operate with the inquest,” Austereo said.
The prank, which made global headlines, saw advertising suspended and both DJs taken off the air.
Greig’s co-host Michael Christian took on a role at Melbourne’s Fox FM and was awarded a “Top Jock” gong and trip to Los Angeles by his bosses in June – a move condemned as in poor taste by Australia’s government.
The chief of the prank call station came under fire in October after appearing to play down the incident at a shareholders’ meeting, saying “shit happens”.