The Racist Bullying of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex Must Stop
I’m sick and tired of the relentless racist hate campaign on Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex by the tabloids.
This abuse began with venom when she first started dating Harry, prompting a warning statement to the press from the Prince about the harassment his then girlfriend was facing, with an extract below,
‘His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments. Some of it has been hidden from the public – the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by papers to her ex-boyfriend; the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life.
Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game’. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game – it is her life and his’.
…With the harassment not ceasing as their wishes, but escalating post wedding and firstborn son, Archie, culminating into a vile fervour of unprecedented scale, forcing the couple to take legal action against the Daily Mail and The Sun, respectively.
In an interview for the ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, both were visibly upset at the onslaught of press intrusion, malice and lies they’ve both faced at the hands of the tabloid press, and during a vulnerable period for Meghan of pregnancy and new motherhood which is disorientating and emotional ‘at the best of times’ for us all, without the glaring spotlight.
I personally suffered a traumatic birth with my first son and find it impossible to imagine navigating first-time motherhood under the scrutiny Meghan has. Unless you’ve experienced pregnancy and a new baby and the hormonal onslaught and fatigue, you will struggle to fully empathise with enormity and transition of that time. The emotional upheaval and anxiety. For all. Whatever the status or wealth.
Meghan shared that she had found the last year, “hard” and that she had had “no idea” of what she would face when she married Harry. I sobbed as she held back tears candidly sharing that she didn’t expect life would be easy but she thought it would be fair.
Two tweets I posted during the programme were chosen by Twitter as Twitter Moments alongside the ITV News’ tweets and various others, as I damned the abuse they’ve endured and declared those who consume the BS, complicit.
‘I never thought it would be easy but I thought it would be fair’. I hope the right wing press remember those words and understand the damage they are doing and those who consume it are complicit. Don’t buy the BS #HarryAndMeghan
Many tweeted that the documentary served to humanise the couple, particularly to those narrow-minded amongst the audience who have wrongly assumed that the privileged are magically exempt from mental illness. They are not. As author Matt Haig tweeted, you only need to look at Kate Spade, Alexander McQueen or Robin Williams for proof of this.
I frankly feel these turbulent Brexit times have heightened racism, allowing the far right to project their prejudices and vitriol with ease onto prominent targets like Meghan and Harry. A strong feminist like Meghan threatens their limiting, patriarchal beliefs, and broadcasters like Piers Morgan who has relentlessly bullied Meghan since she rightfully cut ties from him, has only legitimised and encouraged this abuse.
Meghan and Harry taking legal action speaks for us all. It makes a stand against the bullies and refuses to adhere with the usual ‘put up and shut up’ royal ethos.
I’ve personally experienced trolling and online harassment during the almost 9 years of blogging and vlogging, and while it’s minor in relation to the tsunami of abuse the royal couple have faced, I can testify that scathing words from strangers do indeed hurt and no more so when you’re feeling vulnerable as a new parent, experiencing grief or at any time your anxiety is heightened.
Why isn’t social media such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter doing more to regulate its own platforms? There’s free speech and there’s hate speech and more must be done to prevent and punish trolls.
Until then, what happens to those suffering now?
The much sought-after resilience required to handle harassment, can only come from a break in abuse, from a pause in being targeted and vilified (I’ve had libel written about me from a well known YouTuber and while suffering intense grief over the death of my young aunt/ second mum as well as multiple accounts set up to harass me from, pornographic and inappropriate harassment from men, and forums/threads dedicated to abusing my family and I.
Those words can knock confidence and wound, and take time to recover from. While I feel stronger than ever after 5 months of therapy to help with both a big thyroid operation last year and my public-facing job, abuse is abuse and no one is immune from it. I’ve simply learned to acknowledge when it occurs and work on building a strong foundation of self-worth in which to armour me from unkindness when it arises.
Trolls enjoy the safety net of operating behind their screens, denouncing and demonising others in a way that proves they no longer perceive their targets to be real people with feelings. We somehow become a caricatures in their eyes, demi people in which they can project their own pain, errors and problems upon. Those most broken cause the greatest pain but these attacks cannot be justified. The perpetrators must do the work, heal and change.
We’re all human, we all make mistakes. Meghan threw her hands up and said as much in the documentary and that she accepts when she’s the first to admit that. And mistakes have undoubtedly be made be it the excessive baby shower to the photo-ban at Wimbledon and recent ill advised private jet travel but we’ve all made mistakes right, it’s the only way to learn, isn’t that what we teach our children and aim for everyday, to reflect and grow?
Why do so many then, fail to practise what they profess to advocate. Why has Cancel Culture become so prolific? It’s a dangerous place to operate and people, many people, royal or otherwise have committed far worse errors without such condemnation.
To belittle and blame Meghan for everything from the way she holds her baby to holding her accountable for human rights abuses because she likes avocados for heaven’s sake is the extent of this madness. This obsession. Don’t believe me, then read this headline by The Daily Mail:
‘How Meghan’s favourite avocado snack – beloved of all millennials – is fuelling human rights abuses, drought and murder.’
With an extract, stating,
‘The campaigning duchess may be passionate when it comes to racial equality and female empowerment, but for someone who wants to save the planet, she’s committed something of a faux pas with avocados.’
What the what?
This is the new low some of the British press have plummeted to.
A woman who was let down by a father who isolated himself when she needed him most, a husband who lost his mother at the hands of the press and is reminded of his loss with every camera click and a baby who is loved and deserves parents who are thriving not simply surviving.
For the sake of this family who deserve privacy, and respect, who work unflinchingly hard (and Meghan tirelessly did throughout her pregnancy also) to shine a light on charities in desperate need of support, and who have the human right to exist free of persecution, please, PLEASE stop the racist, bullying rhetoric and reject the consumption of media commuting the abuse, of partaking in this smear campaign against them. It’s not entertainment, it’s people’s lives. People just like you.
Imagine if this was your family or close friend? Your child? What then?