A day after Southern Cross Media Chairman Max Moore-Wilton got heat for his “s*** happens” comment on last year’s Royal Prank/suicide incident on Sydney, Australia’s 2Day FM, Southern Cross Media’s Austereo division on issued a statement 10/23 to clarify what was said: “Mr. Moore-Wilton would like to emphasize that his words should not be read as his or the company’s lack of concern or sympathies towards those who have been involved in the royal prank call issue.”
The company also criticized other media outlets for taking its chairman’s comments “out of context” after a shareholder asked if there was a cultural problem. He made the comment on Tuesday to shareholders at Southern Cross Media’s annual general meeting in Melbourne.
British Member of Parliament (MP) Keith Vaz issued a statement that the comment was an insult to the memory of Jacintha Saldanha, who committed suicide after being a victim of the prank. Vaz, who has been speaking on behalf of Saldanha’s family, called on Moore-Wilton to apologize.
“This is an insult to the memory of a loving mother and wife,” the Labour MP said in a statement. The radio station has clearly not learnt the lessons from this incident. Mr, Moore-Wilson must apologize for his comments immediately.”
Moore-Wilton said Vaz was basing his criticism on sensationalist media reports to condemn his language about a tragic royal radio prank: “Mr Vaz should look at the transcript of my comments and take it in context rather than listening to the truncated and sensationalist reports of the Australian media,” he told AAP. “What the media commentary focused on was a one sentence that I made and presumably that’s what Mr. Vaz is focusing on…It’s in the eye of the beholder. It’s entirely Australian. I don’t know whether it’s British but it’s certainly been used by many Australians to express a point of view. I’m not here to be censored for my use of a word which is common in everyday parlance in Australia. If you don’t like it, or the media don’t like it, well that’s fine.”
In December 2012, 2Day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian called King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, posing as the Queen and Prince Charles, inquiring about the health of pregnant Duchess of Cambridge. Saldanha transferred the call to a duty nurse who gave out private info about the Duchess, and later committed suicide.
A British coronial inquest is investigating the matter, which Moore-Wilton said was an unfortunate incident. “This happened and there was nothing that we could have done to prevent it,” he said.