The chairman of the parent firm which owns 2Day FM, the Australian radio station behind a prank call after which a nurse was found dead, has defended his comment that "s*** happens" in response to her apparent suicide.
The company issued a statement today which claimed Max Moore-Wilton's comments to a room full of Southern Cross Media shareholders on Tuesday had been "taken out of context".
Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse at King Edward VII's Hospital in central London was found dead after a prank by Australian DJs Mel Craig and Michael Christian, where the pair pretended to be the Queen and Prince of Wales. They asked to speak to the Duchess of Cambridge, who was being treated there for morning sickness last December.
It later emerged that Ms Saldanha was the nurse who transferred the call.
An inquest into her death was due to start in September but was delayed following requests for more information.
The statement 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 issued a transcript showing the question posed by a shareholder at the company's annual general meeting that prompted Mr Moore-Wilton's response. According to CNN, the shareholder asked: “Just in relation to Eddie and King Kong, Kyle and obviously the UK incident, do we have a cultural problem?”
Mr Moore-Wilson replied: “I think it's fair to say that those incidents were very unfortunate, there is no doubt about that.
"In each particular case we thoroughly investigated them and it comes generally within the context of some of these incidents where a whole series of events come together and in the immortal words of somebody who I forget, s*** happens.”
MP Keith Vaz criticised comments made by the chairman in a statement released yesterday and called for Mr Moore Wilton to apologise "immediately".
"I was shocked to hear Max Moore-Wilton's comments about this tragic incident. This is an insult to the memory of a loving mother and wife", Mr Vaz's statement said.
"The radio station has clearly not learnt the lessons from this incident."
Mr Moore-Wilson reportedly told the Australian Associated Press yesterday: “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.”