Royal Prank DJs: Joke Was Supposed To Be on Us

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 10 2012 9:58 AM

Royal Prank DJs: Joke Was Supposed To Be on Us

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A view of the entrance to the 2dayFm offices on Dec. 8, 2012, in Sydney

Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images.

Michael Christian and Mel Greig, the Australian radio hosts behind the prank heard round the world, gave their first interviews since the apparent suicide of a nurse who was duped into patching the pair through to the bedside of Kate Middleton last week. Below you'll find video of one such sit-down in which the apologetic and emotional radio hosts describe what happened in the lead up to the prank call and how they reacted to learning the news.

To be clear, the police have yet to make a direct connection between the death of 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha and the call, but that distinction has largely been lost in the media frenzy and public anger toward the radio station that was sparked by news of her death.

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"I remember my first question was, 'Was she a mother?' " Greig said. "I am very sorry and saddened for the family. I can’t imagine what they are going through ... I am just so devastated for them. I am really feeling for them. It was never meant to go that far. This wasn’t meant to happen."

Christian and Greig refused to say specifically whose idea the prank was, saying only that they came up with it during "a team meeting before the show." The pair also again made the case that the call itself wasn't meant to be malicious and instead was a lighthearted gag that was supposed to have their listeners laughing at the hosts, not the nurses.

"The joke 100 percent was on us," Christian said. "The idea was never 'Let’s call up and get through to Kate,' or 'Let’s speak to a nurse.' The joke was, our accents are horrible; they don’t sound anything like who they are intended to be. ... There was no malice on our behalf. It wasn’t to agitate or to offend or to dig at all ... We just assumed that the same phone call had been made 100 times that morning, and we were expecting the same result as the 100 calls that had gone before us."

(Full transcript here via the Daily Beast.)

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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