Michael Christian and Mel Greig, the Australian DJs vilified over their Kate Middleton prank call which preceded the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, have found little sympathy.
But American comedian Joan Rivers says they shouldn't be blamed for the incident that began when the pair telephoned King Edward VII’s Hospital, posing as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles and asking to talk to Middleton. They were put through by Saldanha and proceeded to discuss Middleton's health; the conversation aired on the radio station.
“I think it’s so sad about those poor disc jockeys. That's what shock jocks do,” Rivers tells The Huffington Post on her way to QVC. “That's what Howard Stern does, that's what we all do. I work for suicide prevention. Don't tell me this one thing causes her to kill herself. You have to look into this girl's past and you will find out it was a very troubled past, a very troubled young lady.”
Although no official cause has been announced yet, Saldanha's death is being considered an apparent suicide. Officials have not directly attributed her death to the hoax. In the wake of her death, family, colleagues and friends have described Saldanha as a religious woman who was a loving mother and good decision-maker with a sense of humor.
Michael and Mel have made it clear that there was no intended malice with the call that nurse Saldanha answered. The pair now have lost their jobs and are receiving death threats.
“I think it’s outrageous. It's the same way they all went after [talk show host] Bill Maher after 9/11. It's a witch hunt. First of all, a hospital shouldn't put on someone that doesn't fully understand the language. I’m not dispraising her, but you have to understand the queen and Prince Charles are not going to get on the phone with you and talk about their dogs,” says Rivers. “My advice to them is, it will pass. I will never forget when Roy Rogers died, I called every Roy Rogers restaurant, 'cause I had my radio show then, and asked if they had taken all the horse burgers off the menu. You do ridiculous things. That's what radio is about. Howard Stern would have been gone 25 years ago if all the pranks had been pulled.”
Rivers, who is close with Prince Charles and attended his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles, said the incident would have passed right over the royal family's heads, and jokes that the only information divulged was that Middleton had stopped throwing up.
“We found out nothing, and let me tell you, she is very lucky because she lost three more pounds. Diana would have killed to have lost three pounds.”