Australian radio station 2Day FM's advertising has been suspended until at least Monday, following advertiser boycotts over a prank call to a nurse who was later found dead, Canoe.ca reported.
On Tuesday, DJs Mel Greig And Michael Christian pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles during a prank call to King Edward VII's Hospital, where Kate Middleton was admitted for morning sickness last week. Nurse Jacintha Saldanha put the call through, and some of Middleton's personal information was divulged.
On Friday, police found Saldanha unconscious and ambulance workers pronounced her dead. Her death has been reported as an apparent suicide. The 46-year-old mother-of-two had worked at the hospital for roughly four years.
The station has since apologized in a statement.
"2Day FM sincerely apologises for any inconvenience cause(d) by the enquiry to Kate's hospital. The radio segment was done with the best intentions and we wish Kate and her family all the best," it said.
However, backlash to the incident has inundated those involved. The station's Facebook page appears to have been removed after users flooded the page with criticism. The hosts had already deleted their Twitter accounts.
Rhys Holleran, chief executive of 2Day FM's parent company Southern Cross Austereo, has defended the station. He said the incident was "incredibly tragic," but is "very confident that we haven't done anything illegal," according to TheAustralian.com.
Hospital chairman Lord Glenarthur expressed his outrage with the prank call in a letter.
"King Edward VII’s Hospital cares for sick people, and it was extremely foolish of your presenters even to consider trying to lie their way through to one of our patients, let alone actually make the call," it read. "Then to discover that, not only had this happened, but that the call had been pre-recorded and the decision to transmit approved by your station’s management, was truly appalling."
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