‘That was so mean’: Will & Woody face backlash for COVID-19 vaccine prank
KIIS Drive hosts Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw, Will & Woody, have been accused of potentially adding to vaccine confusion and hesitancy by playing a prank on a listener about her recent COVID-19 vaccine.
The prank formed part of a segment, ‘Victorians Are Bitter’, which highlights the disparities between ‘rival’ cities Sydney and Melbourne as lockdowns begin to lift.
McMahon said Sydney emerging from lockdown was “salt in the wounds” for Victorians “who have toiled away for so long”.
“Like an ancient civilisation under Roman rule, they’ve just been crushed and belittled while everyone else seems to be okay around them. And to add insult to injury, New South Wales has a third of their cases, they’ve been in lockdown for a third of the time, and now all of a sudden they’re out and about.”
The prank involved a Victorian listener nominating a Sydney-based friend who had recently had her second COVID-19 vaccine, enabling her to enjoy some of the freedoms afforded to vaccinated Sydneysiders.
McMahon and Whitelaw called the unsuspecting Sydney listener pretending to be a representative from NSW Health.
They told the listener she had actually been injected with saline solution, not the required COVID-19 vaccine, and whilst she wasn’t in any danger, she would need to undertake a number of measures including a blood test. They also scuppered her dinner plans, saying she’d be required to sit alone, bring her own food and wear excess personal protective equipment.
When the gag was revealed, the unsuspecting listener was on the verge of tears and said “that was so mean”, before she recovered.
Activist and speaker Tarang Chawla called out the stunt, saying while he loved pranks, this one was far from harmless.
“When there’s so much shit going on about this vaccine – maybe not the best gag to pull?,” he said.
“Also, under Section 115 of the NSW Public Health Act, it is an offence… to impersonate an authorised officer.
ARN and KIIS declined to comment on the stunt or the backlash.
Radio Today understands that both women involved in the prank gave their permission for the audio to be played.
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