Radio statio owners, Southern Cross Austereo, have cancelled a planned 2Day FM staff Christmas party in the wake of the suspected suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha.
The news comes as global fallout after a prank call was made by two radio presenters from 2Day FM to the London hospital that treated the Duchess of Cambridge continues to unfold.
A spokeswoman for Southern Cross Austereo ( SCA), the parent company of 2 Day FM, said the party was cancelled out of respect for Mrs. Saldana.
“This is no time for celebration at Southern Cross Austereo Sydney, ” Sandy Kaye said.
A $13,000 bar tab had been organised for around 200-250 staff and was to take place at a Sydney live music venue this Thursday. Reportedly, the budget set aside for the party will now be donated to two charities.
In addition, SCA announced that it will donate a minimum of AUS $320,000 into a memorial fund for Mrs Saldanha’s family. While previously pulled advertising will resume on 2Day FM on Thursday, all profits until the end of the year will be donated to the fund.
Rhys Holleran, (SCA) chief executive, said in a statement:
“Southern Cross Austereo today reiterates its deep regret for what has taken place in these tragic and unforeseen circumstances and offers its condolences to the family of Jacintha Saldanha.
“We are very sorry for what has happened. It is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts continue to be with the family.
“We hope that by contributing to a memorial fund we can help to provide the Saldanha family with the support they need at this very difficult time.The Company today reiterates that it is deeply saddened by this tragic and unforseen event and offers its condolences to the family of Jacintha Saldanha.”
The row over who is to blame for the death of the 46-year-old mother of two has deepened after the King Edward VII hospital denied claims by SCA that any attempt was made to contact the hospital for permission to air the hoax call on 2Day FM radio.
Ms. Saldanha’s body was discovered on Friday, just days after she was duped by Australian DJ’s Mel Greig and Michael Christian’s prank call to the London hospital pretending to be the Queen and the Prince of Wales.
Ms. Saldanha, who transferred that call to the Duchess of Cambridge’s personal nurse who divulged details about Kate’s treatment for acute morning sickness, was described by King Edward VII’s chairman as “humiliated” by the incident.
Meanwhile, UK politician, Keith Vaz, who met Ms. Saldanha’s family on Monday, has criticized King Edward VII management for not adequately supporting the family with counseling. He also urged the hospital to hold an inquiry.
Ms. Saldanha’s husband, Benedict Barboza, and two teenage children arrived in London today to formally identify the body. A post-mortem examination on Ms. Saldanha is being held today.
Back in Australia, Greig and Christian said they were “shattered, gutted and heartbroken” over the tragedy on national television on Monday.