I was in shock and disgusted with myself: Mel Greig at UK Radio Festival

Mel Greig has told the 2014 UK RadioFestival in Manchester she was “shocked and disgusted” with herself when she heard that she had “played a part” in nurse Jacintha Saldanha’s suicide after the 2Day prank call.

“It was horrific, people were saying I deserved to die. I honestly thought I did deserve to die, because I was in lockdown and reading all the messages. I believed everyone in the UK hated me and wanted me dead [and] everyone in Australia wanted me dead… I went into a really deep depression.”

She said her employer at the time, SCA, was “great in providing security and mental health, they found me a psychologist.”

Grieg told conference delegates she is still being harassed, almost two years after the event. “I don’t know why the media focussed more on me or whether it was because I was female,” she said. Her strategy for dealing with harassment from internet trolls was to imagine them not as real people. “They’re not normal,” she said.

She is now feeling better about herself and does not want the tragic event to define her. Mel Greig is currently assisting with mental health causes and is keen to return to work in the media. She told delegates she would love to work in the UK “if the opportunity came up.”

Giving advice to broadcasters about prank calls she said:

“Prank calls in Australia have been around for years, they’re normally quite harmless because you get permission from the person involved. We didn’t think about what could go wrong, because there was a process in place. We thought let’s have terrible accents and see how quickly we can get hung up on, then have a laugh at ourselves getting hung up on…

“Don’t call emergency services, don’t call hospitals. We thought there was a media centre or a reception to go through… If you’re going to do a prank call, make sure you know the person you’re pranking.”

After making the call she and co-host Mike Christian were shocked that they got through and emailed a suggestion to change the nurse’s voice and remove personal information. She said those suggestions were ignored.

Asked by conference interviewer Daisy McAndrew if she was “playing the victim card” to rebuild her career, she answered “that’s not why I’m here.”

She would like to return to radio because “it’s a passion it’s not a job,” but, if she does return to radio, she says will be a “different” and “wiser” announcer.

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