The two Australian DJs responsible for pranking a Kate Middleton nurse who was later found dead of an apparent suicide have been vilifed for their tragic hoax.
But can a mea culpa even begin to mute the public's scorn of them?
The DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, have now spoken publicly for the first time since duping Jacintha Saldanha into releasing private information about the Duchess of Cambridge's condition last week, saying they were "shattered, gutted, heartbroken."
"There's not a minute that goes by where we don't think about her family and what they must be going through," a tearful Greig said Monday on the Australian TV show A Current Affair. "And the thought we may have played a part in that is gut-wrenching."
Greig also expressed her concern for Saldanha's family, saying, "I've wanted to just reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say sorry. I hope they're OK, I really do. I hope they get through this."
Christian, meanwhile, added, "I hope that they get the love, the support, the care that they need."
He did, however, appear to take a somewhat defensive stand.
"We thought a hundred people before us would've tried it," he explained. "We thought it was such a silly idea and the accents were terrible, and not for a second did we expect to speak to Kate, let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital. We wanted to be hung up on."
The repercussions of their tragic prank, however, continue to reverberate: On Saturday, the radio station behind their show, 2DayFM, announced that the duo were being yanked off the air indefinitely.
"They will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy," the station said in a statement. The station has also issued a ban on all prank calls while it reportedly reviews its policies on such stunts.
This past weekend, a photo surfaced of Saldanha, and her husband, Ben Barboza, took to Facebook to share his pain over his wife's death. "I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances, She will be laid to rest in Shirva, India."
Meanwhile, the hospital where Saldanha worked has sent a scathing letter to the DJs' radio station blasting them for the "appalling" stunt.
"King Edward VII's Hospital cares for sick people, and it was extremely foolish of your presenters even to consider trying to lie their way through to one of our patients, let alone actually make the call," wrote King Edward VII Hospital chairman Lord Glenarthur. "The longer term consequence has been reported around the world and is, frankly, tragic beyond words."
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