Kate Middleton Prank Caller Sparks Renewed Outrage Over DJ Honor

Radio DJ Michael Christian with his co-host Mel Greig (Photo by AP Photo/Channel Nine)Here's yet another bad idea brought to you from the same Australian radio station responsible for the awful prank call to Kate Middleton's hospital early in her pregnancy.

On Tuesday, DJ Michael Christian was named the "Next Top Jock" by his employer, broadcast media company Southern Cross Austereo.

In December, Christian and his 2Day-FM colleague Mel Greig called the King Edward VII Hospital in London, England where Kate Middleton was then hospitalized with a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (acute morning sickness) impersonating Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. Their impersonation led to a security breach of Middleton's personal medical details, and was later linked to the tragic suicide of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse and mother of two who put the call through while on reception duty.

Although the Palace has yet to comment and Christian could not be reached for comment, others have been quick to voice their opinions. According to the UK newspaper The Independent, Australia's National Communications Minister Stephen Conroy thought the award was in "bad taste" and UK Labor MP Keith Vaz said, "It sends out completely the wrong message at the wrong time for the wrong reasons." Meanwhile, the Twitterverse is teaming with outrage over the decision to honor the controversial DJ, describing it as "horrifying," "disgusting" and "disgraceful."

Kate Middleton and Prince William leaving King Edward VII hospital in December (Photo by Getty)As part of the "top jock" title—an internal company-wide honor—Christian is being rewarded with a trip to Los Angeles and a tour of the KISS studios. "Regardless of all that's happened in the past few months I'm still at the top of my game," he said in a statement.

In April, London's the Daily Mail reported that Saldanha's suicide note held Christian and his co-presenter directly responsible for her actions. The handwritten suicide note, addressed to her employers at the Edward VII Hospital said, in part, 'I hold the Radio Australians Mel Greig and Michael Christian responsible for this act. Please make them pay my mortgage. I am sorry. Jacintha.'

Christian and his co-host apologized for the prank, and their broadcast company offered Saldanha's family £350,000 (about $537,000) as compensation, according to the paper. In the aftermath of the tragedy, both DJ's were suspended from the air but Christian returned to a partner station and obviously landed back in the good graces of his bosses. Clearly, he's got to work much harder to win back favor with the public.