The Suicide of Kate Middleton’s Nurse – Should We Bully the Bullies?

AP Photo

Whether we’re talking about school bullies, Daniel Tosh, or the radio personalities who humiliated a nurse into suicide, the worst thing we can do is lose our own sense of empathy.

This story begins happily, with Princess Kate and Prince William expecting a baby. The media, of course, is wild with the news, wondering what the couple will name The Royal Baby and whether The Royal Baby will actually be twins. Then Kate is struck with pregnancy sickness so profound she has to be hospitalized.

As we know, if there is one thing that tabloids love almost as much as a scandal, it’s danger. And for a while, everyone waited with baited breath to find out if the princess and The Royal Baby were going to be okay.

Meanwhile, two Australian radio DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, decide to prank call the hospital and impersonate Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, inquiring as to the health of their future heir. It was a hairbrained scheme, the type of thing that’s been happening on the radio since Howard Stern and other shock jocks started publicly embarrassing people in the early 80s, and certainly no one figured it would work.

But it did. Greig and Christian were transferred through to the nurse in charge of Kate Middleton’s care, and that nurse disclosed personal details about the Princess’ health.

It must have been thrilling. They’d scooped even the scuzziest of tabloid rags!

According to The Daily Mail, the recording of the prank call was screened and edited by producers before the show went live, and the intimate details of William and Kate’s family were made into breaking news. Greig and Christian tweeted and bragged about their success.

This alone is troubling. I don’t care if you’re royalty or work at WalMart, you deserve your privacy, particularly in a traumatic time. However, exploiting people’s privacy for financial gain is nothing new to tabloid journalism.

But what happened next is an acute reminder that such exploitation can have a very high price.

The DailyMail explains:

A nurse who transferred a prank phone call from two Australian radio presenters about the Duchess of Cambridge has died in a suspected suicide – two days after being duped.

Mother-of-two Jacintha Saldanha, who was working on the switchboard when 2DayFM obtained intimate details about Kate, was found dead near the King Edward VII Hospital today.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are ‘deeply saddened’ by the tragedy and a Palace spokesman said the couple had not made a complaint about the prank call.

It’s safe to presume, though we don’t have all the facts, that being the unintended victim of this prank caused a hard-working nurse, whose life was dedicated to helping others, to kill herself.


My first reaction to this story was outrage. I was shaking and had goosebumps. With my work here at GMP, I read a lot of horrific news stories, but something about this one struck me deeply. Not because it’s more tragic than other suicides, or the exploitation of children, or the gunning down of a 17 year-old unarmed boy by police for playing his music too loud. Those are also all horrible stories.

It struck me so deeply because it encapsulates everything I’ve been troubled by in the last few months. It is part of what I believe to be at  the root of all the worst things that happen in our society—a profound lack of empathy for other human beings.

In reaction to my righteous outrage, I sent a tweet that I shouldn’t have, just seconds after reading the story. I am not going to delete it because I think it is an example of how we, as humans who consider ourselves moral, often react when we hear about an innocent person being targeted by greedy people.

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Yeah, I laid it on pretty thick. I was enraged. And I was being honest—I do think that the tabloid media is a giant, writhing swarm of greedy fame-whores (no offense intended toward sex workers, of course).

However, my outrage wasn’t well thought-out. I made a decision based on emotion, operating upon a basic human instinct: the desire for revenge.

I wanted to get revenge against Greig and Christian for the death of Jacintha Saldanha. They deserved my words of disgust, my public shaming. I also wanted to be a part of teaching society a lesson. Look what you did! Look what happened because of your passion for laughing at others’ mistakes and misfortune!

But I was wrong. It was wrong to send that tweet.


I’m reminded of a story posted by my friend and colleague Jamie Utt on his Facebook page. Two trouble-making high school boys had been caught fighting in the hallway at school, and were dealt an unusual punishment. The teens were forced to sit together, holding hands, while their classmates taunted them, calling them “gay” and “f-gs”. The boys sat, heads bowed, faces covered. The incident became national news when the photo, at left, appeared on Facebook.

In the discussion on Jamie’s page, we tried to get to the root of what was happening. Was this punishment rooted in homophobia? Did the principal, who is generally considered a hero renegade of education, ask them to hold hands because he knew it would draw taunts? Or was this a sort of public “hug it out” therapy?

It seems obvious to me that there are two things at work in this story. First, I believe this punishment is rooted in anti-gay sentiment. If the aim had been to get them to reconcile via a “hug it out” therapy, the principal certainly would have known that men in our society generally do not hold hands as a sign of friendship and peace. A handshake would have been appropriate. I would still disagree with any adult forcing a child to touch a person whom they weren’t comfortable touching, but at least the act of shaking hands would be rooted in some sort of logic.

No, I think this principal knew that if the boys held hands, they would be taunted. He must have known that they would be the butt of jokes and should have assumed that anti-gay hate speech would be used against them.

But even deeper, this principal wanted these boys to be bullied.

And that’s what I wanted for the Australian DJs whose bullying contributed to a woman’s suicide.

I wanted to bully them right back.


Daniel Tosh, via Twitter

A few months ago, comedian and television host Daniel Tosh became world-famous for a rape joke gone wrong. During a performance, he allegedly made a joke about rape that caused an audience member to boo or heckle him. In turn, Tosh directed his biting humor at the audience member as she tried to leave.

As far as we know, this performance was not recorded in any way, so we have to base our discussion upon what those in the audience says happened, and which Daniel Tosh has never refuted. Supposedly he responded by “joking” (purposeful use of scare quotes) that it’d be really funny if she were raped by five guys right then and there.

It’s not funny to me. I don’t care how funny some people found it to be, I see that joke as a threat. Daniel Tosh was exhibiting an extraordinary lack of empathy for that audience member at that moment, not pausing for even a moment to consider why the woman had found his first rape joke to be offensive. Instead, he plunged on as the person in power in the room, the famous one, the one with the mic, and joked about how a woman should be gang raped.

I wrote about this after it happened, when feminists and others were demanding Daniel Tosh’s head, metaphorically. Hatred against Tosh spewed from nearly every media outlet online. Petitions demanded Tosh.0, his Comedy Central show, be pulled from the air and boycotts against the network were planned.

I can’t speak to whether Daniel Tosh is a good man. I don’t know him and I know very little about his personal life. What I do know is that he publicly apologized for what he did and that his apology simply was not enough for many people. They wanted him gone, out of the public eye, defamed, ashamed, and discredited.

But why?

Because he’d been a bully. He had bullied that audience member and it was wrong. And ultimately, we wanted to bully him right back.

So what would happen if Daniel Tosh had been taken off the air? If comedy clubs refused to book him? While they have every right to do either of these things, what would it accomplish?

I imagine people felt it would be a big lesson to comedians not to make rape jokes. But where does that “lesson” end? Does Louis CK need to strike his bit, shown below, from his comedy routine—where he actively challenges the way in which the media has completely fucked up the messages we send people about rape and consent? I mean, it’s a joke about rape, right? And while many critics say, Oh no, that’s Louis CK, he’s allowed to make rape jokes because he does it right there are others who say there should be no jokes about rape allowed. Ever.

So who decides? When does that snowball stop rolling?

And what do we really feel, inside of ourselves, when we hurt those who have hurt us?


If Daniel Tosh had lost his career, there would be a whole pile of people patting themselves on the back, believing they had helped stop rape by making a dent in rape culture.

But all they would have done, really, was create a sense of fear within the entertainment community, limiting the ability of people to push the limits on touchy social issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, ableism, sexual assault and any other issues that the vocal social justice community find important. And sometimes, pushing those limits in comedy can be consciousness-raising.

I find all these issues important too, and within my community of friends who are not involved in social justice issues, I sometimes find myself trying to figure out the best way to explain that making fun of an “ugly tranny” is hate speech. Often, these friends or acquaintances of mine truly had never thought about the consequence of what they were doing, even when they joked about “Colored People Time” (referring to someone of color being late) or said that fat people have a disease. But if I explain it compassionately, most of the time people agree, and they regret having bought into the idea that making a joke made something less offensive.

But will I no longer be that person’s friend because of that lapse of judgement? Do I want my friend who said “Colored People Time” to lose her job or be publicly shamed? No. I just want to talk about it with her.


This week, the editorial staff here at The Good Men Project has been discussing a new comment on a blog post, about an out gay teenage boy named Josh who was bullied and subsequently killed himself.

It’s always hard to write those stories. I wrote a similar one a few months ago and had to read a number of articles about the boy and watch interviews with his loved ones. I have little boys of my own, and I don’t know if they’re going to be gay, straight, bi, trans or whatever else when they grow up, but I look at this boy’s mother and I feel like she is my sister. Her boy. Our boys. All these children who are taunted because of their sexuality (or their looks, weight, race, gender expression, etc) are our family. Their parents are our brothers and sisters.

The comment in question was from a person identifies herself as Josh’s cousin:

“Josh was my cousin. He was exceptionally smart and ambitious. He was very sensitive and amazingly kind. We always assumed that he would be internationally known, but for his talents and intellect — not for his suffering.
The current Michigan anti-bullying laws permit open bullying if based on religious convection. This is horrific, as it leaves every person open to being bullied in the name of God(s). Josh heard and experienced horrible things both in and out of school. People can be loved and not supported. They are not the same thing. His community did not support or accept him, and, sometimes love is just not enough. We forget how hard being a teenager is.”

What should happen to that boy’s tormenters, both children and adults? What should happen to the people who told him that God was going to send him to hell, to be burned alive for eternity, because of the fact that he refused to deny his sexuality? Their bullying led to a death, even if some of them thought it was in God’s name.


And what should happen to Mel Greig and Michael Christian? Should they be fired? The Daily Mail reports that their Twitter accounts are closed, that the station’s website has been flooded with complaints, threats and harassing messages, and that the pair has been suspended.

But what about the producer(s) of the radio show, the ones who approved that prank call for air? Do we want that person gone? To me, the producer failed even more than the radio personalities. It’s their job to push the limits and the producer’s job to make a choice about the legality and ethics of airing the content that is produced. Should the production team be fired, too?

How about legally? Should Greig and Christian be charged with contributing to the death of the nurse? What will that accomplish?

In order to answer these questions, we must check in with ourselves.

What is missing inside of people when they bully someone—when they suggest an audience member should be raped, when they trick a nurse into giving out private details that would probably cost her her job, or when they taunt and shame a gay teen so mercilessly that he commits suicide?

They’re missing empathy—the ability to imagine how the other person feels.

Most likely, they aren’t psychopaths who lack empathy completely, instead they probably experience a lapse of compassion for the human beings involved in their bullying. A quest for popularity, for power, for laughs, for acceptance, for justice, or for revenge becomes so overwhelming that for a short time, they forget the humanity of the person in front of them, or on the other end of the phone.

And sometimes that’s deadly.

That’s why my tweet about the DJs was inappropriate. I had lost my empathy for the human beings who had made a very, very dire mistake that ended up having horrifying consequences. For a moment, in my quest to show the world just how messed up their prank was, I just wanted to make them hurt. 

My feeling is that Greig and Christian aren’t bad people. My feeling is that they had a job to do—to provoke, push boundaries, be funny and edgy—and they lost their moral compass along the way. This situation deserves our outrage, as does the threatening joke Daniel Tosh made, as does the death of Josh as a result of bullying.

But if all we do is take down the person we’re outraged with, dancing around singing, Ding dong the witch is dead! we’re not really dealing with the problem, are we? In fact, by pretending that Daniel Tosh or Greig and Christian are actually the problem, rather than symptoms of much bigger problems, we are preventing the conversations that need to be happening from being had. Conversations about how we are all responsible for our culture—one of hate, oppression, greed, celebrity-worship, sexual exploitation and more. Also, conversations about  how a person takes responsibility for doing something bad, how they ask for forgiveness, how they grow and how they can show they’ve changed. And conversations about how and when we forgive.

This isn’t to say that people who do something bad shouldn’t suffer consequence. I’m uncomfortable with Daniel Tosh now, and so I don’t watch his show, and I won’t see his comedy shows. Maybe someday I will. But for now, the consequence of what he does is losing a viewer and having people talk about his aggressive comment in public.

The natural consequence for Greig and Christian may be that they lose their jobs, but if that’s the case, then so should their producer who ultimately was the one who put that segment on the air. But I would rather see them, all of them— the production team and the DJs—sit down with a responsible journalist or social activist and talk about what happened. I want to explore the societal and personal factors that led them to air that segment, and it’d be great if their apologies to be as public as their prank.

But let us be sure, as we level attacks, as we send our tweets, as we confront the people in our own lives who have harmed us or others, that we aren’t reacting to a lack of empathy by abandoning our own.


About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and editor with a special focus in issues facing raising boys and gender in the media. Her work has appeared on Redbook, Yahoo!, xoJane,,, and more. She and her husband are outdoor sports enthusiasts raising very active sons. She is currently co-editing a book of essays for boys and young men with author and advocate Jeff Perera. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.


  1. Tragic Kate Middleton Nurse Had Made Two Previous Suicide Attempts

    Jacintha Saldanha, the royal nurse who committed suicide after the Kate hospital hoax, had tried to kill herself twice before it has emerged.

    Reports from her hometown of Mangalore in India are suggesting that Jacintha, who took her own life days after Australian DJs pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles, took an overdose of pills during a family trip to India last year.

    She recovered after being rushed to hospital, but nine days later the mother of two attempted suicide again after jumping from a building.


    • So sad and so devastating but perhaps not too terribly surprising. People with mental illness, who commit suicide, many times, have a history of previous attempts. My heart goes out to her family.

  2. So the inquest has been opened and adjourned. The reports coming from the Inquest (Press Appear to be Excluded and there is no apparent statement as to why) indicate Jacintha Saldanha did commit suicide.

    She left three suicide notes. Newpapers which have spoken to people attending the inquest report one referred to funeral arrangements she wished. One of the others was to her family. The third was highly critical of how she was treated very badly by colleagues in the wake of the hoax call. It is very odd for there to be such a delay and so much obfuscation round a suicide. The content of the notes is being handles with great care, and not out of deference to her family and friends. There is the clear whiff of legal dynamite around their contents.

    Her employers are very publicly stating again that there was no disciplinary action pending – Jacintha Saldanha was receiving full support … and it looks like it’s all being lined up to be gross workplace bullying and harassment. That explains the ongoing police investigation which would be under The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and other laws, and could also involve the Hospital in very hot water if they were aware of Workplace bullying and failed to act. So details of evidence in ongoing enquires is suppressed.

    I wondered at the original comment about Walmart – and of course as an employer they have to protect employees from abuse – harassment – bullying in the workplace, form managers, colleagues and even members of the public.

    So many wanted to be enraged and blame the DJs, but it looks like a very different case now and I wonder how the truth will play out when the Inquest re-convenes in March 2013. More to the point will so many who were twitting and farcebooking even care?

    • And once again, MH, you gloss over facts that don’t suit your, at times, bizarre method of “reasoning”.

      The third suicide note referred directly to the phone call by Christian & Grieg. So these three notes along with the tragic suicide of this woman rather negate the pages & pages you have been.

      Please don’t bother to respond, as I won’t be checking back. This was an interesting & well reasoned read until it was hijacked by your ill-reasoned rantings and those of your acolytes.

      My thoughts are with the family of Jacintha Saldana.

      • You failed to make comment on the delays in official confirmation of “suspected” suicide – it is still not ruled as suicide by the coroner and the ongoing police investigation, which has to deal with the issues raised of Workplace Bullying. Sorry if you see me as glossing rather than ignoring. Must be a UK law Thing Vs other places.

      • Also – Spotted this with my morning coffee too, from the Employer in a letter to a Mt Vaz MP “Neither ourselves, her friends or family noticed anything to give cause for concern,”

        Anyone missing from that list? Such as Colleagues? It’s amazing what people leave out and that is where you do need to focus – the things unmentioned and the things standing till in plain sight.

  3. So far I see no proven direct connection between the death of this nurse and the prank call.

    If you want to write about bullies, there is much better stuff out there for example this one.

    This is about the death of boys over years and nobody seems to care about.
    It’s good stuff for the ‘GoodMenProject’ to talk about.

  4. What exactly were Royal Protection/MI5 doing at 5.30 am when the phone rang?

    I never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by foolishness and stupidity. But when the explanations of foolishness and failure require such a clash of coincidences that probability cries “Hold On” you need to stand back and look at what is standing still and hiding in plain sight.

    According to the Evening Standard, Mrs Saldanha left a note for her husband Ben Barboza, 49, and children Junal, 17, and Lisha, 14, but the family still believe there are “unexplained circumstances”.

    Keith Vaz, the Labour MP who has offered to help the family, said: “What the family need are the full facts. There are unexplained circumstances. The family want to know everything.


    This gets more fascinating as it progresses. Now we have media reporting the existence of a suicide note, which indicates that the Post-Mortem has been completed and evidence can be released – and yet a statement by the Pathologist is still missing. The note is not public, and the contents are unknown.

    Keith Vaz (British MP known for asking very awkward and penetrating questions and embarrassing establishment figures) is getting involved and supporting the family.

    The chairman of the Commons home affairs committee(Vaz), said: “The chairman of the hospital said to me that there are inquiries going on in the hospital.

    “That is not sufficient for the family. There are unexplained circumstances. The family want to know everything. All the facts, fully and clearly. A full inquiry is needed and the family need to be included in that.” Source

    Unexplained circumstances? Who? Where? Why?

    Also suddenly the husband, Ben Barboza, is coming centre stage and saying he is not being told everything. He wants answers, but even now he does not know all the details around his own wife’s death. This is just so odd.

    This is even odder – Meanwhile a squabble continues as 2Day FM management insist they made numerous attempts to contact the hospital before going to air with the prank call. The hospital denies the claim. Source

    It strikes me as overly odd – odd – odd – odd – that The hospital are claiming they knew nothing – and yet The Royal Security/MI5 would have been all over it, “Like white on rice”. I simply can’t accept the claims that The Hospital did not know. The denial is nonsensical – there are established security protocols around that hospital for Royal Security, and those protocols have been there for years. Think the arrangements in place for a president to have to go to Hospital Quick – I read somewhere once about a Hospital close to the white house that has drill for security should the Eagle land and need assistance.

    The Silence as to what others knew is of course noteworthy as it stops people noticing they were even around, present and doing anything. You don’t focus on or look at things which deliberately stay still and quiet so as to not attract attention.

    Some are saying that Jacintha Saldanha died of shame – and yet having listened to the recording of the Hoax call I’m still dumbfounded by the lack of action by The Royal Protection Officers/MI5 who would have been able to cut off the phone call at any time. Were the officers caught napping in the early hours of the morning? 5.30 am.

    By all accounts including comments from the DJs the call arrived at 5.30 am. Clerical staff/Receptionists at home. Phone calls diverted to which office – and the Royal Protection boys and girls were where? The other thing that bugs me is that the end of the call has been missing from the broadcast material – so when and how did the call end? Was it cut off, and if so by who?

    Given that it would be known by Royal protection/MI5 that the hoax call existed … and the delay in broadcast … and that The Royals would have known about it…. why was it broadcast?

    Was it a double bluff using the media to stir up fears of press intrusion and raise the spectre of Diana and her demise? A rouse to protect the next in line to be and push back press from the young couple? … and then it all goes up the swanny because of the unexpected … the unpredicted …. the unmanaged?

    There has been a hands off policy with the media and both Wills and Harry since Diana died in 1997 (15 years ago), and of course that started to crumble with some nude shots from Las Vegas. Hell they even got published in UK papers which was a landmark since Diana’s death. It did ruffle many feathers and get many questions asked about how far is too far when it’s a royal?

    I have to wonder was Wills indignation to the press, via his dad’s press officers, real indignation, or just the right amount to re-establish the boundaries and uneasy truce with the press and paparazzi? There is a real whiff of Dickie Arbiter (Former Press Sec Top The Royals) around all of this – the right levels of pressure to get the right effect – by the rights routes – deft and quite management.

    Doing It all Dickie Style and then it derails. The Royals knew the recording existed – in this day and age it would leak on the net sooner or later – Recently topless images of Kate on Holiday – use The Hoax call and bring pressure for best results – have the right level of anger and indignation communicated – get the public unhappy about press intrusion Job Done – move on! It’s been done before so many times.

    Whoops – we didn’t see that one coming – Refocus and shift the focus as far as way as possible … such as Australia.

    The thing that bugs me most of all is the now emerging reports that in the days between that call and the death Jacintha Saldanha did not say to anyone – Her Husband – Family members in India – Her Children … she said to no-one that there had been a problem involving her. But that still leaves the big questions as to where were the Royal Security/MI5 and why did the haox call get broadcast when so many knew about it in advance.

    I keep thinking of the interview with the two DJs, and how they were lost when talking about themselves but jumping to attention and almost talking by rote when their employers were mentioned – how the company and all back stage and off camera were perfect and doing everything perfectly. There is an issue there that needs to be opened up.

    Media sources that have been able to interview or get comment from Ben Barboza are indicating he is surprised that his wife didn’t tell him about the hoax – and he’s considering it was due to shame – but it was out of character. It sounds like a man trying to make sense of events – and as he is saying he’s not being given the whole truth.

    Not saying anything was out of character – unless ordered to not say anything an following a sense of duty. Ordered by who and why?

  5. BTW…this is an excellent article dealing with how absolutely insane y’all are in your handling of this.

    • Thank you for that! I blame a great deal of the hysteria on the operation of #FatSparrowCult and all who bow down before the great Icon. They twit and retwit factoids until they are all in a frenzy and reality or even realities are of no interest! You can’t stop a fundamentalist when they have their fundamental out and are playing with it.

  6. Playing Cludo – Its the Queen In Buckingham Place with ….???? and you think I jest!

    Tue 11 Dec 2012 10.40 UTC

    A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out on the hospital nurse who was found dead after taking a hoax call about the Duchess of Cambridge.

    Source – BBC News 11 Dec 2012 10.04 UTC

    So I do wonder why so many are stating and even demanding that there has been a suicide when the Post Mortem is still to be performed – 5 Days after a person died. It is so very very odd. Normally a PM would be carried out in 24 hours, but in this case… why the delay. There have been no Holidays or Exceptional events to cause such delay… or have there?

    It’s odd too because one minute it’s reported Paramedics were called to the scene because someone was unconscious – and then it’s police called paramedics because someone was alive – and then oddly Paramedics found her dead – or as it’s reported she was not dead but died at the scene with Paramedics pronouncing her dead ( Which They can’t do by law – a Doctor has to do it). The media muddle is most odd.

    The Police announce that a person has died – if it is “Evidently” suicide that is confirmed by police generally 3 hours after discovery. We are now 93 Hours past that normal announcement and yet people are still saying it was suicide and no-one officially agrees with them.

    Normally – Suicide would be ascertained at the time the person is either found, dead or having died at the scene, or having been transferred to a hospital. 3 Hours. Again over 93 Hours later no-one is saying it was Suicide… except chattering masses and media twits.

    Why the delay?
    What needs to be managed?
    Who Benefits?

    Why all the media driven focus down under … and it’s even odder when you consider security protocols around the Royals mean that all calls in and out of the hospital should have been monitored by MI5 and The Royal Protection Branch… and that seems to have been a massive fail.

    The radio prank apparently took some days to be aired, so it’s odd that people who should and even just could have acted failed to stop the broadcast. … and the royals involved (Queen, Prince Charles, Wills Kate) would have all been briefed in advance and been asked what action should be taken – lean on the Broadcaster down under and stop broadcast … or let it play and look human. ..

    Of Course Mame – yes Mame – let it run Mame – Thank you Mame.

    Advisers area tricky bunch!

    So maybe the watchdogs saw no harm (It was a terribly innocuous stunt as to content) … so if the royals were not phased and said let it run – why the witch hunt now.

    If the Royals had the power to stop it being broadcast, doesn’t that mean there should be a witch hunt for Brenda or as many know her The Queen Of England – Her Son and Heir Charles of Wales – 2nd In Line Prince William Wales – and his Wifey the Kate of Middleton.

    It’s all so odd and skewed by those Twittering masses and so much Cyber Indignation and the way the story has been shaped and focused across the whole net is just so Bizzare. I’ve been saying it since the Story Broke.

    But the BBC Confirm – there will be a Post Mortem, maybe today.

    I hope the mobs will be happy with the Twits to follow under #FatSparrowCult and let us all hail and prey and pray to the great icon of Twit.

    Nice one Brenda .. you have been dodging the bullets so well. Luv To Phil.

  7. As someone whose entire professional career (over 25 years) has been as a radio announcer I can tell you that you have not factored in a major component. One that has been overlooked in every analysis I’ve read…that being: these two people are supposed to be professional broadcasters. Whether or not they’re supposed to “push boundaries” or “be funny” or whatever you want to try and say as a way to excuse their behavior – they’re supposed to know what is “too much”. They’re supposed to know what the law allows, what society would allow, what common sense and good judgement allow. A real broadcaster would know how to make that call (if it was necessary – my God, how have we not progressed beyond prank calls like this?) and not violate someone’s privacy and not make someone feel they’ve made a fatal mistake. Yes, they AND the producers should lose their jobs. They were clearly not equipped to have them in the first place.

    Shelley, you’re clearly lacking what the author was making a point about: empathy. By all accounts Jacintha was a woman who was exceptional at her job and deeply caring. For a person of integrity an incident like this could have been unbearable. She may have felt like she *literally* could not live with herself. It’s ridiculous to imagine that what happened did NOT have to do with her death.

    Lastly – comparing broadcasters with comedians is really comparing apples and oranges. I understand the point you’re trying to make Joanna – but broadcasting is governed in ways that comedy is not. And that’s because it is literally “broad casting”….anyone could happen across it (an unintended audience) and that’s why there are protections. When one goes to a comedy club – it’s really “no holds barred”. It’s a limited audience, it’s a mature audience.

    I do think Twitter and FB allow people to react too quickly and in too permanent a fashion. But, sadly, we live in a world now that’s just one big raw nerve, one giant knee-jerk reaction waiting to happen. ALL of this is really just a lack of self-control.

    • JM: Ok, one more time – Still don’t know it was a suicide and I do know what the gist of the story was. Until someone in charge states that the cause of her death was A) Suicide and, B) said suicide was a direct result of the prank, I will not decide. I will say I find it very hard to believe that IF it was suicide that this one thing, embarrassing as it might have been, would cause a supposedly balanced, professional woman to take her own life. Invariably there is always so much more going on in a mentally unstable individual’s life.

      Regardless, the reaction to this whole fiasco has been over the top. Please, please tell me ONE factual piece of information regarding her death except that she is indeed, dead. You can’t because there aren’t any yet. An autopsy was only officially ordered today and just going by past incidents of this nature, no one will know any pertinent information for some time.

      Hmmm…Are you serious about DJ’s being broadcasters? As far as I’ve observed in the last 20 years at the very least, not one DJ I’ve heard, whether local or national could be safely compared to a broadcaster. I personally don’t think many of them are funny and yes, many go way over the top in their quest for ratings but broadcasters? No. But this is why they have producers and managers – to cull through the repertoire and decide what should be aired. Should they be fired? I am really on the fence on that because there were plenty of hoops they had to jump through and someone higher up could have pulled the plug at any time and didn’t. At this moment, they may or may not be fired. I do know their show was pulled and I seriously doubt they’ll be coming back. It would be better for all if they decide to just slink off quietly.

      Honestly, if the goal was to put a spotlight on bullying, there were many other examples that could have been presented. This particular story is too riddled with unknowns and potential explosion to be truly pertinent. And now, look what we have here – a circus with no end in sight. God, I hate circuses.

  8. Andy Buchan says:


    • Pity – was looking forward to your opinions on Public Interest in investigation Breaches Of Data Protection By Hospital (£500,000 Fine) Vs Public Interest is seeking Extradition of 2 DJ’s from Australia To UK for a crime that may NOT have been committed (£5000 + Fine).

      Justice costs money and the costs and returns have to be assessed. I may need to do some maths!

      • What MediaHound said.

        It is much more irresponsible to form a lynch mob to string these DJ’s up than to stand back and let all the info come in and THEN make a informed decision. To be honest, I think a HUGE leap was made in assuming that her death had anything whatsoever to do with the prank. This more than anything bothers me.

        Yes, it’s sad she died but you are going to feel very dumb when you find out that this really had no bearing on her death at all. In reflecting on this post and some of these comments, I guess I’m not really surprised at all. I think in your knee jerk reaction to her death, you have done a disservice to us by attempting to pull us into this quagmire of emotional reactions. Congratulations.

  9. Andy -Yohan as the DJs did not seek info with criminal intent it’s not clear what if anything anyone could be charged with in the UK – except of course the hospital who appear to be in breach of The Data Protection Act 1998, and should have reported the data breach to the Information Commissioner for investigation. Failures to Report and Also the breach could be big issue and fining issue (£0.5 Million) – so it’s odd that the media and hospital have forgotten to mention it given the Levison Inquiry/Report. Is the hospital attempting to divert attention?

    • Andy Buchan says:

      MediaHound The very act of obtaining the information under false pretences and impersonating another person is a criminal offence, full stop.

      • The bigger issue and one which requires no extradition is of course The Information Commissioner investigation the Data Breach. The DPA ICO guidance on Social Engineering and Spoofing has been about for 10 years, so are the literacy levels in Hospital Management so poor they can’t read?

        Intent is relevant and relative. Would love to see how taped evidence could be used to show intent. Both presenters made it clear they expected total failure due to duff accents – and were clear they expected to get stopped at the first hurdle. Appendix 4 DPA 1998 Criminal Sanctions = £5000.00 fine in magistrates Court and Unlimited In Crown Court. Love to see the extradition request to Oz – and the court battles to get them sent back from the colonies for prosecution. It would have an Ironic Ring to it! P^)

  10. Screw the suicide issue! The crime against humanity is the cruelty.

    Why are people hesitant to condemn cruelty and would rather turn the spotlight to the suicide non-issue? Could it be because they fear not being able to freely mock and torture poli-oposites?

    • We cannot ignore this ‘suicide non-issue’.

      It’s a form of lynch-justice going on which is not acceptable.

      There are plenty of people who want those Australian DJs in jail facing manslaughter-charges without even unable to prove any direct connection between the prank and the alleged suicide.

      • Thank you! Until there is clear evidence that this admittedly immature and silly stunt caused this poor woman to take her own life (which I highly doubt), there is no reason to even factor it in.

        • Here! Here!

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            You guys, it’s not an “either/or” – they have to consider it a factor in the suicide, until it’s ruled out that it had nothing to do with it.

            Insisting that it has to have *nothing* to do with the suicide is as absurd as insisting that is HAS TO have something to do with the suicide.

            Stop going to extremes to prove a point. The fact is, we don’t know, but everything should be considered.

            And above all, when we act, we should consider how the fallout of our stupid pranks (or take-down culture) will affect the very real human beings not just at the center of our actions, but also on the periphery (ie this nurse, potentially).

            • You guys, it’s not an “either/or” – they have to consider it a factor in the suicide, until it’s ruled out that it had nothing to do with it.

              Sorry – “In the Suicide”? Has there been a suicide? The Police haven’t said So – the Family haven’t said so – The Pathologist doing the post Mortem has not said so and the Coroner has still to open an Inquest!

              There is nothing to factor in or out other than Idol Speculation!


              Who has these Crystal Balls and Abilities to generate net content and why are they not Trillionaires .. news and secrets being so valuable? Can we have Area 51 next please and Sasquatch for an exclusive Photo-shoot next week – Full Page Spread!

              Show me the money and I’ll make so much comment it will melt keyboards. BUT – until then why are some repeatedly making Comment and Capital on an event that is not known to exist – well To Excellent Male Standards anyway!

        • Andy Buchan says:

          There is already adequate evidence and mockery is a form of bullying as is trophy hunting.

          Yet again you are all claiming that there is no connection between the suicide and the pranksters yet this issue is about the suicide and the pranksters who have been bailed out by the Radio Station. Are you looking in the mirror and seeing yourselves in all of this?

    • I agree with you 100% Rob. Pranks, bullying, whatever you want to call it is abhorrent. To humiliate another person or organisation or idea to “show what a big person you are” or how clever you are is so vile and low. And to do it for “humour” is hideous.

      I’ve always hated prank calls, hidden camera shows, anything where another persons humiliation is the source of alleged humour.

      The lack of empathy we show towards one another is breathtaking. I am by no means perfect, but I do try to show kindness to others every day. Sometimes it’s reciprocated, sometimes not – but that isn’t the point. I believe strongly in “paying it forward”.

  11. Andy Buchan says:

    we should bring them to trial and have them prosecuted the evidence should be adequate. they acted selfishly and retribution in the form of financial sanctions and exclusion from public broadcasting for a long period would be sufficient. Do not allow words like Bullying to be used to describe reactions to the people who brought on this amount of sorrow to the victim it was a selfish act by a couple of egotistical morons. They could argue anything they like but their actions were dishonest and they contributed to the woman’s decision to commit suicide whether there were other underlying problems or not.

    Another example of such scum baggers was that of a vulnerable woman obsessed with cleanliness to the point that she inquired to her friends if drinking savlon liquid would cleanse her bowels. they encouraged her to do so by insuring her that it was safe to do so, so she did and died. The judge presiding over a case brought against the women said it was her own fault and cleared the women of all wrong doing?

    • I see no adequate evidence. There is no proven connection between her death and the phone call.
      Prosecuted for what?
      The only offence I see is about trying to receive medical information of a person by false pretense.

      • Andy Buchan says:

        “The only offence I see is about trying to receive medical information of a person by false pretense.”

        And that is a criminal offence in this country the United Kingdom, the actual crime happened here just like a hacking operated here in the UK but against an American company or Government department in the USA, it would be a crime in US law.

        Your reply attacks my comment and then supports it?

        • Yes, you might try to prosecute these 2 DJs of ‘receiving medical information of a person by false pretense. I think there is enough evidence for that.

          However I see no evidence at all, how you can prosecute them for manslaughter of that person who connected that phonecall to another person and later on died, reason of death so far not disclosed.

  12. Richard Aubrey says:

    Charges for what? In a society of laws–which we used to have–you get charged with what is already illegal, not for something a lot of people with too little to do think is icky.
    We have no idea why this woman killed herself, if indeed that’s what happened, and there are any number of other things that may have happened to her in the preceding couple of, say, days which were equally or more responsible.
    We know she got the call and later she was dead. Causal relationship is inferred, mostly because it’s a celeb/Royal thing.

  13. I’m not saying they should be bullied, as in fact that won’t solve a thing. They should, however, be held responsible for their actions and face trial, as we’re not talking about someone being offended, but about someone who certainly had some previous issues and that this committed suicide (?) as a result of a shame to her dignity and job. If you’re DUI and something happens, then you’re to blame. If you accidentally kill someone, even if without intent, then you’re to blame anyway. I’m not saying they acted with malice, but who cares? Because of that someone died, right? Then they should face charges.

    • @ Joao

      If somebody is driving a car and is causing a deadly accident, the driver is responsible for this accident and should face charges.

      However if an employer fires one of the staff, or a spouse decides to divorce, and the staff member or spouse commits suicide because he feels unhappy about that, how can you keep the employer or the other spouse responsible for the suicide?

      We are responsible for our own decisions, we are not responsible for the decisions of others.
      It is the person who commits suicide who is responsible for this suicide and not as mentioned in my examples, the employer or the other spouse.

  14. Joanna,
    As a supporter of anti bullying and violence prevention work for many years, I’d like to thank you for this insightful take on how quick we all are to seek revenge or “right a wrong”, and in doing that we run the risk of creating more victims along the way. I love the Gandhi quote above that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. It does indeed.
    Children react emotionally first, as do adults, but adults can and should step back, and think twice about a quick emotional response, as you did.
    Again, thank you.

  15. A very sad story to be sure but until all investigation is done we will not know facts of the whole story. No one may EVER know all the facts. And we shouldn’t because it’s just not our business. I agree there is a huge lack of empathy in the world today. I think parents have failed to realize that for the most part compassion and empathy must be taught. While we may be born with the capability most children will not readily express it at first. Frequently when I see someone fall down or embarrass themselves in some way I want to laugh. I don’t (for the most part) but sometimes thats just my first reaction. And sorry but I think most people are like this. It’s inappropriate but there it is.

    Totally agree that these prank calls get out of hand and sometimes downright weird and this is definitely the fault of the producer who should have a clear head regarding these issues. That’s their job. Most DJs I’ve listened to are very immature and let’s face it they are there to entertain. I think they did their job the way it should have done. According to your post they did present this bit to the producer and it was ok’d.

  16. In a statement, Mrs Saldanha’s family said they were “deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha”. They have requested privacy from the media.

    BBC News 8 December 2012 Last updated at 12:41 UTC – 7.41 ET

    Still Not Suicide – Still NO cause of death stated – Post Mortem still awaited.

  17. Joanna,

    You got to the heart of all these sad tales: a lack of heart, or empathy.

    Even with the best of intentions, with careful forethought, we can wound people with our words.

    Bullying the bullies brings Ghandi to mind: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

  18. What would be if the caller is a young pretty British lady and the phone operator a male immigrant?
    Nobody would care in this case if he commits suicide or not.

    But this call was from Australia…from 2 DJs, and that’s maybe the biggest problem now.
    It’s getting ‘political’.

    There is no suicide note as far as I know. There is no proof that the suicide is directly related to that prank-call.

    The suicide might have any other reason.
    It should be noticed that the final decision to go ahead is with the person committing suicide.

    About the phonecall, I think, the fault is with security of those royals concerned – there should be passwords or call-back or redirecting such phonecalls to elsewhere etc to avoid pranks and hoax and to verify who is calling. – Such an agreement between hospital and the patient/her security staff is obviously missing. The nurse is not to blame.

    I think, this phonecall might be considered as offense. It is a crime to obtain medical information on false pretence. – But are they responsible for the suicide of a nurse answering such a phonecall? Surely not.

  19. Still NOT suicide 24 hours after story broke – I wonder what will happen if it’s not suicide and if people will be apologising on mass to the Nurses Family for any false idol speculation causing up-sent and offence?

  20. They “go there because no one comes to the real-time rescue of certain categories of people…or more accurately, “non-people.”

    Smarmy and cruel reduction of the social stew seems to require killing the non-people. Gays, rape victims, molested little boys, drunken and hurting celebrities…they are all fair-game. If they take their lives, so be it. Tosh and Mahr don’t give a damn! And they get away with it because society agrees that “that’s O.K.”

  21. What Tosh did was fucking stupid but it’s miles different to actually releasing private information about someone’s health, which is a hugeee problem I think. You also goto these shows and expect hecklers to be treated like shit, I dunno if I’d call it a threat though as “it’d be funny if you were gang-raped by 5 guys right now” doesn’t really say I hope you DO get gang-raped? To me a threat would be to tell her she is going to be gang-raped or tell others to actually do it vs comment on a hypothetical situation. It’s pretty fucked up to say though. But when you are socially engineering your way into to get private information on someones health then that is just all kinds of fucked up. I think they need some disciplinary measures to take place.

    It’s the same radio station as Kyle n Jacki-o, where Kyle called a reporter a fat slag and threatened to hunt her down, and hooked a 14 year old female up to a lie detector test on air and asked about her sexual history to which she spoke of her sexual assault in a very very very awkward and quite frankly FUCKED UP way. They’re a shock-jock station it seems, but I do expect some degree of civility such as don’t mess with kids, don’t infringe on privacy.

  22. Why have the DJ’s been titled “Bullies” all of sudden? Unless, the writers / reporters like yourself just want to attract more attention by using these type of trending sensational words and titles. Just report & comment on the facts without “your hands on it”

  23. Richard Aubrey says:

    Suppose time brings out evidence of severe mental issues. I suppose we could say the radio prank pushed her over the edge where, otherwise, she would not have gone. Or, at least, not for another month.
    Sometimes stuff just happens. Seeking a scapegoat is lifespan you’ll never get back.

  24. The DJs did something dumb and stupid but I’m guessing they never thought in a million years their prank would work – they probably just thought they’d get into a bunch of vaguely humorous argy-bargy with hospital administration. They are not to blame for this poor woman’s death, any more than the Royal Family are (who mostly laughed off the initial incident), hospital administration (who had neither suspended or disciplined her), nor even the UK media, who, at least in the coverage I read, focussed far more on the Australian DJs than they did on the hospital’s mistake.

    Ultimately the only responsibility for her suicide lies with her (who I strongly suspect was previously depressed). It is tragic but it is entirely misguided to start casting blame around.

  25. Thanks for a well reasoned article, Joanna.
    Social media has amplified bullying to unprecedented levels. Previously we might have said the hateful things we thought to those within hearing distance, and in cases of extreme outrage, sat down and written to a newspaper. Now our instant outrage can be transmitted around the world in the blink of an eye. Type once & then read three times before sending.
    Having said that, Austereo & 2DayFM have a history of condoning, and encouraging, bullying tactics for the sake of ratings. It’s worth googling Kyle Sandilands – the outrage when he called a journalist a “fat slag” and questioned a young girl (who was hooked up to a lie detector at the time) about a pre-teen rape was huge. However he remained on-air and continues to rate brilliantly. This says volumes for the “rate at all costs” mentality of 2DayFM and also, sadly, of the listeners.

    • questioned a young girl (who was hooked up to a lie detector at the time) about a pre-teen rape = FALSE.

      The radio segment involved people being hooked to a lie detector test and quizzed by people who know them. The Girl of 14 was there with HER MOTHER – and the mother was repeatedly asking the girl; If She Had Had Sex – and to quote:

      Child to mother ” I’ve already told you the story about this, and don’t look at me and smile because it’s not funny” Pause “Oh OK, I got raped when I was 12 years old”.

      The presenters were rather shocked and not responsible. The Mother has been, and as far as is reported, under investigation and supervision for child maltreatment.

      The outrage is not that the presenter made – forced – obliged the child to admit to rape (That Was The Child’s MOTHER WHO ALREADY KNEW AND WAS EXPLOITING IT), the outrage was due cause by one of the presenters asking in a most shocked way “is that the only time you have had sex” and at the same time the other presenter apologising to the child for her being in the studio at all and making it clear that nothing should have been broadcast.

      It seems some in the USA are up in arms and not thinking because of Broadcast controls which require delays on live broadcasts. That is confusion and frank bias is fuelling a great deal of indignation and not Facts or Reality

      I find it ironic that you said the following, as it’s a perfect of example of Righteous Indignation sans Reality:

      Social media has amplified bullying to unprecedented levels. Previously we might have said the hateful things we thought to those within hearing distance, and in cases of extreme outrage, sat down and written to a newspaper. Now our instant outrage can be transmitted around the world in the blink of an eye. Type once & then read three times before sending.

      • Wow, you have made some stunning assumptions.

        I live in Australia and have intimate knowledge of the entire gamut of 2DayFM fiasco’s. Yes, the girl’s mother was present and did ask those questions. But for Kyle Sandilands to ask the question “so was that your only sexual experience” to a child who had just said that she was raped at 12 and to broadcast it was irresponsible at best.

        You chose to conveniently ignore his vilification of a female News Ltd journalist, which was beyond hateful and also chose not to address the culture of bullying which would appear to pervade the SCA network.

        Would you care to explain “Righteous Indignation sans Reality”? I delete far more than I send, just quietly – maybe you should try it.

        And just a final question – do you have any vested interest in this topic, such as being a 2DayFM or SCA employee or relative of such? Your level of interest and wild enthusiasm seem disproportionate to the subject. By the way, I do work in media.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Elle, thanks for your thoughts on this, especially as an Australian who is more familiar with this station/show.

          I do love your statement “I delete far more than I send, just quietly” — I do, too. LIke 2/3 of what I write.

        • I …. have intimate knowledge of the entire gamut of 2DayFM fiasco’s.

          Interesting. Would love to hear.

          • Oh – Conflict Of Interest : Me= No and You = Yes/No?

            Media: Me Past=Yes Present=No – You =Yes!

            Would you care to explain “Righteous Indignation sans Reality”? – you media professional you read in context= easy! P^)

            2/3 = 2big be do 1/8 you=happy? P^)

            • Um, would you care to repeat that in a known language, such as English?

            • Wow, that made absolutely no sense.
              Elle, I’m Aussie as well and cannot comprehend why Sandilands is still on air. I remember a line from Howard Stern’s movie “Private Parts” where they were looking over the ratings and commenting that more people that listened to him hated him. Why? They wanted to hear what he said next. Something about Sandilands suggests the same to me. His popularity comes from a desire for people to hear him stuff up and be offensive on air.

              • Prurience is like that – even if some attempt to hide it behind indignation. But then again, if it all changed it would just lead to boredom and empty blogs. What else is the net for, except highly indignant status updates.

              • Heisenberg, don’t you think it is a sad indictment that these type of radio personalities (most high profile being Sandilands & Alan Jones) rate wildly? I love radio – the intimacy & immediacy leaves other kinds of main stream media doe dead. But the fact that the listening public seem to flock to announcers whose stock in trade is to denigrate others just leaves me shaking my head. Not just in Australia, but world wide.

                I don’t know if you saw either the ACA or TT interview with the DJ’s tonight, but to me, something felt a bit “off”. I don’t know what it was, I can’t put my finger on it. There is no doubt that they are genuinely shocked and deeply sorry. But some of their answers just didn’t ring true – such as saying they didn’t know “the processes” that the call went through to be vetted by other departments prior to going to air was just BS. Also Michael Christian repeating the same lines over & over didn’t sit right. To me, much of it felt very, very rehearsed. I would suggest that many hours had been spent prepping for those interviews.

                Good on them, however, for facing the public. The things that have been said about them by keyboard warriors are revolting in the extreme.

                It is time we all showed each other a bit more kindness.

                • Ban this filth! By Ben Thompson

                  Mary Whitehouse, once a byword for moral censure, emerges from her archive in a number of other unlikely guises. … Link

                  Everywhere you look in 2012’s media landscape, images of participation and interactivity distract from the eclipse of real engagement. If the career of Mary Whitehouse can teach us anything, perhaps it’s that the moral ramifications of culture are a subject worth having a serious argument about.


                  “Touché,” wrote BBC chairman Sir Michael Swann, graciously putting his hands up after she had caught him in a rare moment of inconsistency. “You do your homework extremely well.”

                  Oh she was a wonderful model of activism, focus, social engagement and doing one’s homework – and as the improbable (and unintended) reincarnation as godmother of gay equality I do love her – God Bless Her Cotton Socks!

                • I don’t know if you saw either the ACA or TT interview with the DJ’s tonight, but to me, something felt a bit “off”.

                  Well I have had no knowledge of sight of either of the pair until this story broke – so I’ve watched the interview in full and then had to locate alternate video footage to compare body language, vocal tone, stress and the natural speech patterns of both him and her – and together.

                  I’d be more worried about the two being bludgeoned into submission by their employer – especially the evident physical distress and tears of her. It has a whiff of two people being bludgeoned with blame, to the point where they start to doubt basic reality – and they did seem as if obliged to say the right thing about their employers as if that had been told to them repeatedly,

                  When asked about themselves there was doubt and hesitation, stops starts and broken sentences – but when asked about their employer it was like a pre-record speech edited in. It’s as if they have been told over and over the issues faced by employer, but their individual involvement has not been addressed in the same way.

                  What a surprise – they showed that they were both acting naturally with minimal indication around Zero that they had been rehearsed, coached or told what to say. But then again, if you have any professional competency in media interviewing you know Unrehearsed and Unprepared is best – and any pro can spot a put up job at 100 paces.

                  It’s odd but people under stress will often repeat the same phrases and words – sort of like stumbling about looking for a door in the dark. So either we have quite natural behaviour which you see as odd – else you are so correct and there really is a great conspiracy and the two presenters are so professional as actors they can pull off a major fraud in language, body language, vocal tones and intonation.

                  The idea that they would not be 100% aware of all processes around the program production may be surprising to some – but one wonders do all people in all work places know everyone else’s job, how to do it, what it is about and exactly what all their colleagues do and how. I’ve worked in media – TV – Radio – Live and Recorded…. from runner to producer, as well as being a filthy techy and exec… and I couldn’t tell you all of the people and what they did on programs I’ve been responsible for in the past. Hell – maybe I was just grossly unprofessional and incompetent which is why I was 2 decades in the business over multiple continents?

                  I get the impression that some folks have got a box and Everything has to be made to fit it – by any means – including looking at the world and events through which ever pair of tinted and Polarised specs go with the box that day!

                  It’s so fashionable(sic) victim and really does not look good, interesting or media savvy – unless of course you don’t know the business.

                  .. and again it’s odd that when speaking about themselves there was quite natural behaviour, but as soon as it was about their employer it was coming out like rote. Now what would that indicate?

  26. Joanna – It’s worth remembering as well, the UK media have a Very Big Knee Jerk reaction round the Royals due to Diana Princess Of Wales. This present reaction is Bizarre given how the feeding frenzy normally goes – and there has been the recent conclusion to the Leveson Inquiry into The Media – Phone Hacking – Obtaining Private & Confidential info by deception and criminality! Phoning up and spoofing people to get information.

    I’ve just watched one news report and it was spooky – as I watched the reporter on camera I was sure she was doing a performance of Lady Macbeth .. and chuntering “Out, damned spot!” … It was hard to tell as the Amateur Dramatics and Faux sympathy is an act that TV news people are still working on desperately. If there are any starving Method teachers, or Stanislavskian Naturalist looking for a fast return – Fleet Street and Wapping are buying and fast!

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I didn’t understand any of this, but I agree that scapegoating in the media is problematic, and is part of what I’m talking about. I think it is a form of bullying, or at least closely related.

      • Joanna – Sorry I keep forgetting the Atlantic divide – and with you there are an extra 4 or is it 5 time zones? West Coast is another planet!

        The UK media hounded Diana to her death (1997) – They have been told to be very careful, especially where prince William and Harry are involved. Any Intrusion will be met with all out warfare – and the Royals do have clout. The media are so frightened they failed to report that prince Harry was on active duty in Afghanistan… under fire… from the Taliban (Massive secret hush job for months – think Watergate). So any news story, like this, on intrusion into Royals has them all apoplectic!

        Then we have Phone Hacking – Leveson Inquiry – Multiple News Papers and new groups/media outlets under investigation – newspapers closed = editors arrested – Murdock Empire in the Dock…. Police criminal instigations ongoing – Massive payouts from the High Courts …. sorry have folks over there missed it. The Whole UK Media is in Total Meltdown!

        Then last Month TV media BBC and ITV and the Paedophile scandles over Sir Jimmy Saville molesting kids live on air (He died last year it just took 30+ years to work to the surface) . and now so many other Old Time Friends and associates of Sir Jimmy being arrested – BBC Producers and News Readers – Comedians – Rockers … Celeb after Celeb being felled!

        So The Media over here are quite desperate to get attention Overseas – frankly If Obama Farted they would all send news crews in the hope of diverting attention. It’s so odd to watch and the news feeds went off the scale 10000% jump in a matter of an hour when this story broke. It didn’t manage that when the Japan Tsunami happened and that was 24/7 coverage with Nuclear Reactors exploding.

        The media explosion on this story and finger pointing is so massive and off the scale it’s unprecedented. News sites are updating by the second – and sometimes 3+ times a second…. instead of minutes and even hours. My RSS feeds on just this news story has in excess of 30000 updates in 18 hours. That’s a new version of the story or a new outlet every 2 seconds – It wasn’t that big on election night.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          “The media are so frightened they failed to report that prince Harry was on active duty in Afghanistan… under fire… from the Taliban (Massive secret hush job for months – think Watergate).”

          What do you mean “failed to report”? Good for them for not leaking sensitive intelligence to the public. And no, nothing like Watergate. A VIP doing their duty to the country is hardly a threat to democracy.

          • Peter – you are not so insulated in Ireland that you are unfamiliar with UK media and newspapers. Hell – you have your own tabloid and red top brigade to deal with. Scandal Sells and Celeb Gossip!

            If you are unfamiliar have a look at the Daily Maul …. sorry Daily Mail which is happy to print anything at high speed to keep Mr Desmond happy and in the luxury he’s accustomed to. It’s funny how they lay the page out too – all that content under the heading femail.

            Given that the Daily Maul will print everything about a Celebrity being present when a crisp packet/bag of potato chips is opened … well keeping 3rd in line to the Brit Throne In Afghanistan quiet and 100% under wraps took some doing!

            I love the Twitter Maul between Donald Trumpo and Sir Alan Sugar – and how Old Trumpo is so unhappy that Sir Alan Sugar Billionaire and the Guy Who Started the Apprentice … well Donald can’t cope because Alan likes Wind Farms as Good profitable bushiness and not Hot Air such as Donald flying in to a badly designed and built gold course is seen as bad … but I digress –

            Maybe the battle of two great twits is being missed. My vote is on Sir Alan, cos his hair don’t get blown about by the vagaries of media storms in tea cups.

  27. I’m wondering if the reaction from her employer pushed her to suicide.

    The hospital may have threatened her with the sack or deregistration.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I’m fairly certain that was a part of it…

      We don’t know, we may never know. But there is still an absence of compassion in the airing of the prank.

      Frankly, I just don’t think the DJs realistically thought they would ever get that far into it.

      • But there is still an absence of compassion in the airing of the prank.

        I have looked at this phrase repeatedly, wondering why it does not make any sense? Is it me?

        I have listened to the prank – it was so baddly done as to be crass – how anyone fell for it is staggering – and yet here we have that old “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc” Fallacy being peddled.

        “after this, therefore because of this”? The prank was bad because of what came after … and there is no proof that the prank is linked to what came after! None – just ongoing twittering speculation. If time lines and reality can’t be kept in a rational order, no wonder so many things are going to hell in a hand basket!

        The Authorities still state the death is not Mysterious and still do NOT report it as suicide some 27 Hours after the story first broke – and there are now questions circulating about long term physical health problems ….. even ongoing treatment. Odd what happens when a Coroner Gets the chance to do their job – and the Pathologists doing Post Mortems on the Body and not on Media Speculation and masses of feeding twits!

        Would the last rational and thinking person to get fed up please turn off the internet when they leave!

        Thank You! P^/

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          My feeling is that the prank must be considered “bad” because of the following facts, and these facts alone. And they are subjective as all morality (arguably) is:

          1. Publicizing a sick, pregnant woman’s personal medical details is a pretty insensitive, even amoral thing to do.

          2. In creating a prank where the success of said prank is predicated upon at least one person making a major mistake, you are threatening someone’s job solely for the sake of making yourself famous/successful. To me, this is also founded in dicey morality.

          But this is why I do what I do, not what they do. The sleep that I (and the other editors) have lost over trying to decide whether any certain story is going to do more good than harm is significant. We always go into every post with our prime objective being to do good for the world, and cause as little harm as possible in the process, while succeeding in a competitive business environment.

    • It doesn’t matter. The DJs pried private information out of celebrities for much the same kind of power that the principal got from locking those boys together. It’s about revealing information that titillates because it doesn’t match the image that these people craft for themselves in public. Straight boys afraid of bullying have a right to preserve their image of themselves as straight. (So do the gay ones, though I wish for better circumstances for them all.) Whatever the DJs might have learned was going to be ahead of the curve of what the Royal Family wanted revealed, and had a right to reveal in their own time, or not at all. It was none of their business. That someone has possibly killed herself over this breach is tragic. It’s not the main connection Joanna’s making in this incredibly thoughtful and nuanced discussion of bullying.

  28. the radio personalities who humiliated a nurse into suicide….

    Sorry – but for me that is way off the mark. I’ve actually listened to the recordings and the nurse “Jacintha Saldanha” took the call and it was then transferred to ANOTHER nurse who was subject to the Hoax.

    The Authorities have still to state her death was suicide – and there is also comment that due to mental health concerns people should not be jumping to conclusions. It’s not clear if there is a procedural delay/Investigatory delay because of royals or if there is a whole extra angle here that is being looked at. It could be that there are wholly different causes in play here!

    As for Bullying – I would be more worried about employer reaction and abuse … even Bullying.. than looking at the Hoaxers from Australia. I’d be asking more about them being media scapegoated than there being Bullying of the Bullies!

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Yeah, that’s sort of my point. That immediately jumping on these DJs and throwing righteous indignation at them may feel really good at first, but ultimately may not be the most productive action in the end.

      However, I would guess that it doesn’t matter which nurse was the one who gave out the info, the first one was probably responsible for screening the call. Both probably should have had reason to question the callers, but it’s almost irrelevant. She was clearly reacting to what happened… or so it seems. And to some degree, her mental health shouldn’t even be an issue. If she committed suicide she clear was dealing with some mental health issues, regardless of when they started. And even if they started years ago, don’t we have a certain responsibility, as decent human beings, not to humiliate one another?

      • Still NOT suicide 24 hours after story broke – I wonder what will happen if it’s not suicide and if people will be apologising on mass to the Nurses Family for any false idol speculation causing up-sent and offence?

        • Why are you focusing on whether the nurse killed herself over the prank? Did you not read the rest of the article? The point of the article is not to argue about the nurse, it’s to look at our gut reaction to want revenge, and consider alternatives that would be more constructive.


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