Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah sparks controversy, and it hasn’t even aired yet

Meghan Markle during interview with Oprah Winfrey
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Meghan Markle and Harry duke of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey has sparked controversy and racist rhetoric in the mainstream media. And that’s before it’s even been broadcast.

What’s race got to do with it?

The Times published a story accusing Markle of “bullying” and tenuously linking her earrings to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This soon took off on social media, with long-term Markle critic Piers Morgan commenting on the accusations. Some may deny that this attack on Markle’s character has anything to do with race. But – from absurd headlines to racist tweets about her newborn baby – Markle has endured overt and covert racism since the announcement of her dating prince Harry and joining the British royal family.

As the Guardian’s Catherine Bennett said:

Tormenting Meghan Markle has become a national sport

Comedian Munya Chawawa summed up the farcical headlines the British press has come up with to attack Markle over the years in this sketch:

Highlighting the racism inherent in the media’s latest attack on Markle, lawyer and activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu tweeted:

Misogyny in the media

This isn’t the first time establishment press has harshly scrutinised a woman who’s joined the royal family from the outside. As one Twitter user highlighted, the British press “hounded” princess Diana to her death:

A clip from the couple’s interview with Oprah reveals that prince Harry is keen for this history not to repeat itself:

What about Prince Andrew?

Others took to Twitter to compare the media coverage of sexual abuse allegations against prince Andrew to Markle’s treatment. Prince Andrew has received scrutiny for his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Yet he’s received considerably less criticism in the media and has maintained the support of the Royal Family. The Canary’s editor-at-large Kerry-Anne Mendoza had this to say:

Writer Bernadine Evaristo summarised:

One Twitter user added:

Hanna Ines Flint expressed her outrage at the situation, saying:

What about the royal family and British politicians?

Others highlighted that the media has let other members of the royal family and British politicians off the hook for more concerning allegations. Dr Meenal Viz said:

And author Sophie Walker added:

Good Law Project director Jo Maugham highlighted Boris Johnson’s speech in support of Mohammed bin Salman. Johnson gave this speech the very same year that Markle wore the highlighted earrings to dinner:

Looking at the royal family’s track record of death and destruction, rapper Lowkey stated:

White men sharing their expertise on the matter

As ever, a group of white men took the opportunity to chime in on whether Markle is a “bully”:

Another Twitter user instantly shut down the Metro’s suggestion that Morgan should interview Markle and her husband:

Media bias against women of colour

Mos-Shogbamimu shared a video arguing that “bully” accusations have historically been used “to demean, dehumanise and silence Black women”:

The lengths to which mainstream media will go to undermine and discredit a Black woman who dares to speak out are astonishing. The media’s treatment of Markle is symptomatic of racism in the UK and reflects the insidious nature of misogynoir.

We only need to look at the character assassination of MP Dianne Abbott, or or Nick Ferrari’s suggestion that journalist Afua Hirsch should leave Britain if she’s offended by racism…”, to see how the British public and mainstream media make examples of successful Black women who challenge the status quo. This sends a message to Black women that if they intend to be in the public eye, they must be prepared for harassment, defamation, and harsh scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Black women are under-represented in journalism, over-represented in those receiving online abuse, and under-protected in both instances. The British public and mainstream media need to get with the times. And they must work to root out anti-Blackness, inherent bias, and white supremacy in all their forms.

Featured image via CBS/Twitter

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  • Show Comments
    1. What a load of old crap. She’s one of the most privileged women on the planet. She lives in a mansion, has millions in the bank, is literally married to a prince and has the ear of the celebrity elites who a couple of years ago were happily swanning around with Weinstein despite his behaviour being no secret in Hollywood (looking at you Oprah). You seek to downplay her wearing gifts from a murderous regime with piss poor arguments and engage with what aboutery. This week several members of staff have accused her of bullying. Yet, you seek to excuse her behaviour and criticise the media because of the colour of her skin? This same paper has attacked Conservative women of colour for far less. What a crock.

      1. Dianesrightshoe, wow, you are some kinda of weird at best….
        Weird that you support the billionaire owned BS media and find no issue with a pervert prince, yet skin pigment sends you frothy……
        Go put your head in a bucket…

        1. Diane is one of the “dull” who simply believe what our foul and corrupt media tell her. She reads the Telegraph and believes it. She watches BBC and believes it. She has totally missed the point made by the post on Meghan. And does she even realize that Royals constantly receive gifts from all the world. Even the Queen (whom Diane no doubt worships) probably has jewelry given by Saudis. Meghan could not be expected to remember who gave her what. It was a crime to wear earrings but seemingly not a crime to actually support the Saudis in finance weaponry and public speech as Johnson does. Or is Meghan also selling arms to these warmongers?
          Stay faithful to the media liars Diane.

      2. Your comment is a disgrace and reflects very badly on your piss poor ethics and lack of humanity. The crimes of the utterly corrupted royal family are legion dating back centuries, the support for the Saudis, the billions made from the Yemen war, the financial heists by the English aristocracy, crimes against their own people. And to top it all, lying princes who get away with vicious abuse of young women. All of this will you accept but when a brave woman of colour puts her head above the parapet to expose some of the wrong doing you create a narrative all on your own to suit your nasty racist views.
        You only expose yourself as a thoroughly bigoted and repulsive human being.

    2. Do I care about an over privileged couple with silly archaic titles, whatever the colour of their skin? No.
      Royal watching has replaced religion as one of the opiums of the people.
      Let’s get back to politics and some meaningful political analysis, not get side tracked into this bilge.

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