Why The Edge's cruel and callous treatment of their Mediaworks' mate Simon Barnett is the final straw
OPINION: This time Dom Harvey and company have gone too far – they broke a little boy's heart.
In pranking More FM's Simon Barnett by hiring a Tom Cruise-impersonator for an exclusive 15-minute interview, The Edge breakfast crew crossed a personal and professional line for which they have no defence.
Listening to the "nicest guy on radio" first pouring all his fanboy enthusiasm into the on-air chat of a lifetime, only to have it cruelly exposed as a hoax at the very end was rage and tear-inducing radio. I was driving my daughter to school –tears of anger streaming down my face. I then struggled to hold it together while recounting it to my wife minutes later.
To his eternal credit, Barnett kept himself incredibly composed, while co-host McCormick vented and fellow breakfast team member Sam broke down in tears.
* An on-air interview with 'Tom Cruise' goes terribly wrong for More FM's Simon Barnett
* Jono Pryor's digger disaster: Ben's house is being renovated
* Are Jono and Ben ripping us off when they stage their jokes?
* Dom Harvey and Chrystal Chenery post-crotchgate
* Jay-Jay's recovery will be a 'long process' says husband Dom Harvey
Barnett's family and listeners jumped in to immediately support the former What Now host and Dancing With the Stars Winner and vilify Dom, Jay-Jay and company for their heartless act.
The Mediaworks HR department will be a busy place this morning. The Edge trio should be censured, suspended and maybe even sacked for what potentially amounted to "workplace bullying". While some might argue that Barnett should have been suspicious of this "Tom Cruise"'s reference to watching footage of him on Dancing With the Stars and being impressed by his footwork, it would be just the kind of thing the really Hollywood star might look up as part of his own "due diligence" on who was interviewing him.
As someone who has had the opportunity to speak to a couple of my heroes and heroines, I know how much effort both mentally and emotionally it can take to prepare yourself for it. You could hear how much talking to Cruise meant to Barnett. From his line of thoughtful, respectful and insightful questioning you could tell he'd been waiting for his moment with the Top Gun star. And like Ralph Wiggum in The Simpsons you can actually "pinpoint the moment his heart breaks", to the soundtrack of Jay-Jay's cruel cackle.
And that's perhaps the worst part of all of this. We expect this sort of behaviour from Dom. He has history – from Crotchgate to the Cucumber Number he and good taste have often had a rather strained relationship. But Jay-Jay – who has had her own demons to battle, why would she ever have agreed to go along with something that could cause such potential emotional and mental anguish. They should both be hanging their heads in shame and potentially hand in their microphones.
This might not be on the same scale as some of the behaviour of the Australian shock jocks or the infamous Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross' prank on actor Andrew Sachs, but it seems symptomatic of a culture at Mediaworks that needs to be stamped out.
So far this year, we've had Jono "supposedly" destroy Ben's house and the same pair faking a car crash. Jono even suffered from a similar version of the same gag that took place this morning – when Ben and others in the Jono and Ben team hired a Johnny Depp impersonator. So Friday's criminally unfunny joke wasn't even original.
And let's hope it's the last and somehow Simon gets to achieve his Mission Impossible – a chat with Tom Cruise. The Edge Morning Team better be moving hell or high water to make it happen – it's the least they can do.
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