OPINION: Don’t Blame the DJs for Jacintha Saldanha’s Suicide!

Mel Greig and Michael Christian

In case you’ve missed it somehow (*hint hint* Jacintha Saldanha: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know is on Heavy.com’s homepage), we’re in the midst of an international royal family prank suicide scandal! That’s a lot of buzzwords! Basically, two radio DJs from Australia, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, called the hospital where Kate Middleton was staying pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles and got put through to Princess Kate’s personal nurse who gave them medical information about the princess’ condition. The nurse who put them through, Jacintha Saldanha, has since committed suicide.

Since then a veritable s**tstorm has rained down upon the DJs, the station, and probably Australia in general (I’m fairly certain a number of angrily Brits have ritually sacrificed a kangaroo in vengeance by now), but this clearly isn’t their fault.

Is it sad that a woman who by all accounts seems to have been a lovely human being and a wonderful nurse committed suicide? Of course! It’s a tragedy and it’s horrifying and my heart goes out to all her loved ones.

But it is also possible to feel that way and not be desiring that two radio DJs be drawn and quartered as penance. Mel Greig and Michael Christian did NOTHING wrong. They were just doing their jobs. It’s not like they talked Jacintha Saldanha into suicide or berated her or were mean to her in anyway. All they did was call up the hospital, don absurd accents, and ask to be connected to the royal hospital bed. It was an extremely limited interaction.

There’s nothing in what they said or did that was designed to cause Jacintha Saldanha any harm, nor were they even particularly obnoxious. Especially by radio DJ standards.

During the 2008 election two Canadian DJs pranked Sarah Palin by calling her campaign pretending to be then-French president Sarkozy. Should those DJs be fired or prosecuted or shot or whatever other horrible thing people are wishing on Mel Greig and Michael Christian?

No? Why not? What they did was morally, ethically, and legally no different from what Mel Greig and Michael Christian did. It’s the exact same thing. The only difference is that the staffer who connected Palin did not commit suicide. That may seem like a big difference, but the point is that it isn’t a difference in action on behalf of the DJs.

Not to mention that we have no earthly idea why Jacintha Saldanha committed suicide. Maybe it was because of the prank, maybe it wasn’t, maybe the prank pushed her over the edge, maybe it didn’t. We have no idea what was going on in her life. Literally anything could have been happening to her that caused her to commit suicide.

And even if this prank is somehow the sole reason for Jacintha Saldanha killing herself, something that seems highly unlikely, it’s still not the fault of the DJs. What they did was not cruel, it wasn’t even mean. It was a simple prank. Even if it had been mean, it’s a huge leap to them causing her suicide because then you’re still punishing people for speech.

At a certain point we’re going to have to grow up and not try to blame somebody every time something horribly sad happens. They weren’t attempting to cause Jacintha Saldanha any harm and they didn’t do anything to actually cause her any harm. The fact that something they did may have possibly maybe had something to do with her harming herself does not make them villains.

The DJs didn’t harm Jacintha Saldanha, she harmed herself. Stop blaming these people, they’re probably just as shocked and upset about it as you are.