Sometimes a joke can have tragic or devastating effects when taken too far or when done without a thought. Last week’s hoax by two Australian DJ’s were one such joke. Without the grim results, it could very well have been a classic joke to be remembered and laughed about for a long time to come, garnering hits on YouTube and maybe upstaging Gangnam Style.
This morning, I was listening to a call-in debate on the radio on whether the DJ’s, or hoaxers, should be punished for what they did. The legal ramifications were discussed. It is illegal to impersonate the Royals, illegal to air a taped recording without the parties’ consent, etc. So it seems like this has the potential to be remembered but not laughed about for some time to come.
One caller to the radio station was adamant in her stance that the announcers should not be punished. She saw it as just a prank, not worthy of sentencing. The female co-jockey was also adamant in her stance that of course they should be fined to the extent of their crime. She felt laws were broken and therefore, a price should be paid. Now I had mixed feelings listening to this. I am not sure if these announcers should be punished. I think the fallout is mostly because it was done to the Royal Family. Would it have been some lesser person, I am sure the views would have been less inclined to heap coals on the heads on their heads.
I readily admit that I’m not exactly warm on Royalty. I couldn’t care less about the sweet Kate and her Royal husband but that’s another blog for another time. I do think everyone is entitled to some form of privacy but in the same breath, everyone is fair game for a little prank now and again. (Seen Punk’d?). Now, it is a sad thing that someone died because of this prank but the nurse, God bless her soul, did not follow hospital protocol. It was her fault that pertinent information was released, not the fault of the DJ’s. Sorry. Yes, they probably should not have aired it but that’s the whole point of the hoax. They just couldn’t keep a copy for private viewing, doesn’t work the same way. They probably should not have crossed the line and impersonate the ‘Untouchables’, but that’s also the fun of it. Think of the Salahis, the couple who crashed a White House dinner. Read it here. It would not have carried the same punch had it been your dinner that they had crashed, would it?
So my take? This is a hard one. I am straddling the line a bit here. You have to admit that our society thrive on shock value and sensationalism. We can’t get enough of it, even with so much Reality TV. YouTube and other media are forever trying to come up with ‘The Big One’. The hoax or prank that would be the next big YouTube thing. Get used to it. On the flip side, I can sympathize a bit with The Family as it was a sensitive time for them and yes, someone did lose their life because of it, unfortunately. I am sure it was not the intention of the DJ’s to hurt anyone. Should they go to jail for impersonation? Well only if Kim Kardashian also goes to jail for impersonating a real actress.
Just my take, nothing else.
- DJs behind royal hoax tearfully apologize for ‘gut-wrenching’ death of nurse (with video) (vancouversun.com)
- The end of prank calls? (bbc.co.uk)
- Vancouver DJs halt prank calls after Australians’ royal hoax (vancouversun.com)
- Watch: Royal Hoax Tragedy: Could DJs Be Charged? (abcnews.go.com)
- DJs Behind ‘Royal Prank’ the Real Victims in Kate Middleton Hoax (celebs.gather.com)
- Royal hoax DJs’ first interview: The full transcript (itv.com)
- DJs ‘heartbroken’ at nurse’s death after hoax (itv.com)