If I turn left, right, centre, forward or backwards I’ll come across a negative story about Meghan Markle within the press. I don’t have to look very far or wide at all….now I understand that being a celebrity and popular figure comes with its fair share of negativity, rumours and gossip, but Meghan is not receiving a fair share, what she is receiving is an unprecedented level of scrutiny, criticism and to be quite frank downright bullying.
I am not someone who is really ‘into’ the royal family and have never followed their lives closely, however I was curious and pretty interested when I heard that Prince Harry was dating an American actress (most known for her role in the legal drama Suits) and that she was ‘hushed voice’ half black. I carried out some research on Meghan Markle using good old social media and Google and was impressed with her accolades – actress, philanthropist, blogger, activist.
However the smear campaign by the media started immediately, one of the glaring first headlines to be widely circulated with its far from subtle racial undertones was the ‘Prince Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton’ headline. To put this into context, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is an American biographical drama film depicting the rise and fall of a gangsta rap musical group – somehow the gangsta rap musical group inspired a headline relating to Meghan, I wonder why? (mock confusion, eye roll and eyebrow raise).
I would provide the link to the article, but it’s not conducive or helpful to the discussion and allowing the trashy articles to get more clicks is not the aim here! Following this, her family background was analysed and critiqued, from her mother and father being divorced, to her father being bankrupt and Meghan not being on speaking terms with her half-sister. Firstly, plenty of couples divorce, in fact Prince Harry’s mother Princess Diana and Prince Charles divorced did they not? Secondly, since when does experiencing financial difficulties and having to declare bankruptcy define somebody, not to talk of defining their child? Thirdly, not being on speaking terms with a relative is not uncommon and has nothing to do with Meghan being a part of the royal family.
I could see right through the media’s attempts to portray Meghan as a rough American hoodlum with a broken family, thankfully so did Harry as he released this statement in defence of Meghan: “He (Prince Harry) has rarely taken formal action on the very regular publication of fictional stories that are written about him and has worked hard to develop a professional relationship with the media. But the past week has seen a line crossed. 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. He has asked for this statement to be issued in the hopes that those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done.”
Unfortunately, Harry’s statement has done little to stop the constant flow of racially aggravated, crude and petty comments:
- From the conspiracy theory that Meghan’s pregnancy is fake (which has led to the hashtag #moonbump and #megxit being circulated amongst trolls);
- To the disgusting comments about her unborn child;
- To the petty commentary about Meghan wearing heels during her third trimester by the Daily Fail; and
- To the difficult woman inspired stories.
I was reluctant to provide the links above, as this gives the trolls and trashy newspapers more clicks and exposure, but the evidence had to be provided to substantiate the article. I won’t provide anymore, but there’s plenty more and some of it is much worse in terms of the content.What I will say, is that Meghan is a strong woman, she has remained composed and dignified in spite of all the backlash. However, not everyone has the same strength, in a age where people (particularly younger people) are committing suicide more often than ever due to the impact of social media – statistics show suicide rates have almost doubled amounts teenagers,
I really hope people can reflect on what they post and not say something behind a screen, that they wouldn’t say in person. In essence, these trolls tend to be cowards that are very outspoken whilst protected behind a screen, but wouldn’t say even half as much in person.
Furthermore, aside from the social media aspect, the racially motivated aspects of this issue are a reminder that there is still a very long way to go – on the positive side a mixed race lady is now a part of the royal family, but on the flip side it unfortunately doesn’t seem that she is being welcomed by all. I don’t know about you, but that resonates with me pretty strongly.