- Meghan Markle spoke at a virtual event for The United State of Women and When We All Vote to speak about the importance of voting in the 2020 election.
- While she never mentioned any candidate by name or who she supported, she did reference high stakes and a need for change, prompting some to think she was implying she wanted Trump out of office.
- It is against the rules for royals to speak publicly about their political opinions. Several people, including broadcaster Piers Morgan, called for Meghan’s title to be stripped.
- On the other hand, many defended her, believing her statements were general and nonpartisan. Some also think that because she and Prince Harry have stepped aside from their roles, they should no longer be bound by those kinds of Royal Family rules.
Meghan Markle Speak About Voting
Over the weekend, Meghan Markle joined the growing voices encouraging people to vote in the 2020 Election. Her calls, however, were met with swift backlash online from those who thought she crossed a royal line.
On Friday, the Duchess of Sussex spoke at a virtual event held by the United State of Women and When We All Vote to emphasize how important it is to participate in the upcoming election.
“I think we’re only 75 days away from Election day. And that is so very close and yet there is so much work to be done in that amount of time because we all know what’s at stake this year,” she said. “I know it. I think all of you certainly know it. And if you’re here on this fun event with us then you are just as mobilized and energized to see the change that we all need and deserve.”
While these remarks sound like standard fare in election dialogue, two key words stood out to a few people. While she never says who she is voting for or ever references any candidate by name, her reference to the “stakes” of the election as well as the call for a needed “change” led many to believe she was implying that she wanted President Donald Trump voted out of office. She would be far from the first celebrity to take such a stance, but sharing political opinions is a little more complicated when it comes to royals.
Members of the Royal Family are not allowed to share political opinions. However, where Markle and Prince Harry fit into this rule is unclear. The two stepped away from their duties as senior members of the Royal Family earlier this year, meaning they no longer formally represent the Queen or receive money from the family’s Sovereign Grant.
Still, the two technically retained their titles, His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex. Since they are not working members of the Royal Family, they cannot actively use their HRH title, the part that denotes them as His or Her Royal Highness, but they are still known and referred to as the Duke and Duchess.
Outrage Aimed at Markle
Like most of the centuries-old rules and protocols of the Royal Family, this title jargon makes almost no sense and seems relatively pointless. However, these age-old rules are the bread and butter of the family, and most never dare an attempt to break them. Some think that since Markle and Prince Harry are still the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they should still be bound by the guidelines banning them from political speech. Many, including television personality Piers Morgan and Conservative London Assembly member David Kurten, called for Markle’s title to be stripped.
Radio host Dan Wootton called the incident a “massive diplomatic embarrassment for the Queen.”
Support Expressed for Markle
On the other side though, many don’t think Markle spoke out of turn. Some thought these rules should no longer apply to her, while others said she was simply encouraging people to vote, not speaking in a partisan manner.
“I understand the need to prevent leaders and notable figures seeking to swing another country’s election, that is fair and proper – but to call Markle’s remarks that is surely stretching the point,” Chris Stevenson wrote in a piece for The Independent.
“It’s not like Trump doesn’t offer his opinion on UK matters every time he is asked, normally in a much more straightforward manner than the Duchess of Sussex did,” he added.
Kate Williams, a history professor who has written books about the Royal Family tweeted out a thread claiming that Markle’s comments were not partisan, and even if they were, she would have been “entirely within her rights.”
“Other royals have talked about elections, matters such as the environment, even written to ministers about policy,” Williams explained. “But #Meghan, who is a US citizen, telling people to take US elections seriously is some sort of terrible scandal.”
“Talking about ‘change’ is NOT partisan!!! Trump voters talk about change – ie more states for him,” she added. “She’d be entirely within her rights to say ‘Go Biden/Harris’. But instead #Meghan simply talks about importance of voting and is being attacked. It’s madness. Racist madness.”
History of Attacks in the Press
Unprompted attacks against Markle in the press have become as steady a British staple as bangers and mash or fish and chips. The Duchess has been superficially slammed for everything from shutting a car door to the way she holds her son. Those attacks have also gotten blatantly racist, with one headline claiming that her family went “from cotton slaves to royalty.”
Some believed the outrage hurled at her voting comments were part of this perpetual cycle of criticism, which one person called “disproportionate” and “worrying.”
Others also wondered why Markle is often the subject of such visceral and constant fury, when Prince Andrew, who has been accused of sexual abuse by a woman who claims she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein when she was a teenager, does not face these regular attacks. Actress Jameela Jamil responded to a tweet calling Markle’s comments embarrassing by saying the family “may be more embarrassed” by Prince Andrew.
See what others are saying: (Forbes) (Huffington Post) (Harpers Bazaar)
Netflix Reinstates Employee Who Crashed Director-Level Meeting After Criticizing Dave Chapelle
Terra Field had publicly accused Chappelle of making transphobic remarks in his new stand-up special “The Closer” just days before she was suspended.
Netflix Reinstates Terra Field
Netflix reinstated a transgender employee who was critical of Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special after suspending her for attending a director-level meeting without an invitation.
Terra Field tweeted on Tuesday that she was reinstated once the company determined “there was no ill-intent in” her decision to attend the meeting.
“I’m going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I’m at,” she added. “At the very least, I feel vindicated.”
Field also shared an email Netflix sent her regarding her suspension being lifted.
“Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting,” the email said. “Additionally, when a Director shared the link it further supported that this was a meeting you could attend.”
Field’s suspension came just days after she tweeted a viral thread criticizing Chappelle’s latest program on Netflix, “The Closer.” She was one of many activists who claimed Chappelle’s set was transphobic and encouraged Netflix to take action. Field wrote that his comments attacked “the very validity of transness.” Netflix insisted those tweets had nothing to do with her suspension.
Field reportedly attended the director-level meeting with two other employees who were also suspended. A spokesperson for Netflix told Deadline that those two staffers have likewise been reinstated and the company “will be distributing broader guidance about meetings and clarifying which are for which people.”
Netflix’s Response to Dave Chappelle Controversy
Netflix, for its part, has defended Chappelle and rejected calls to remove “The Closer” from the streaming service.
“It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Srandos wrote in an internal memo. “You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.”
“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” he added. “I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
Among other things, Chappelle took time in his special to defend author J.K. Rowling, who previously faced backlash over a series of transphobic remarks she made. Chappelle said he agreed with Rowling.
“I’m team TERF,” he added. “I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”
Chappelle went on to make jokes about Caitlyn Jenner before comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
Many employees at Netflix are still frustrated with the way the platform has handled the controversy surrounding “The Closer.” According to The Verge, a trans employee resource group is planning a walkout on Oct. 20.
“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter,” the group said in a memo. “And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Deadline) (The New York Times)
Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch May Have Abandoned Plans To Participate In TikTok NFT Program
Lil Nas X’s TikTok NFT was scheduled to debut a week ago and is still not available to the public.
Creators Allegedly Leave TikTok’s NFT Program
Musicians Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch may have quietly exited TikTok’s new NFT collection, according to a report from Rolling Stone.
TikTok first announced the line, which is called “TikTok Top Moments,” at the end of September. It involves a series of creator-led NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are unique and tradeable digital assets. TikTok’s NFTs can be purchased with the cryptocurrency Ethereum. According to a press release, the money will “largely go directly to the creators and NFT artists involved.”
TikTok said that creators like Poarch, Lil Nas X, Grimes, Curtis Roach, Brittany Broski, and more would be participating in the program. The company called NFTs an “empowerment tool” that will allow these creators to “be recognized and rewarded for their content.” It planned to debut the collection on Oct. 6 with Lil Nas X’s NFT, but that token has still not been made available. A source told Rolling Stone that it may never be released.
NFT Rollout Described as “A Mess”
The outlet also reported that Poarch is “actively contemplating pulling out of the program due to worries about its execution.” According to Rolling Stone, three sources familiar with the rollout of the program have described it as “a challenge,” “a mess,” and “a complete joke.”
Those sources claimed that in order to secure Poarch’s initial participation, TikTok offered her marketing support worth potentially $4 million for her next release. The company also allegedly promised to use one of her songs in an end-of-year campaign. A spokesperson for TikTok, however, described these claims as “not accurate.”
Neither Poarch nor Lil Nas X has commented on their participation yet. Meanwhile, TikTok declined to answer Rolling Stone’s questions about the status of their NFTs.
Some of TikTok’s announced NFTs have gone public, though. Throughout Tuesday, Roach’s “Bored in the House” video was up for auction on the platform Immutable.
NFTs took the internet by storm in early 2021, but their popularity peaked in May and declined throughout the summer. Celebrities, tech moguls, and everyday people featured in viral memes have hopped on the trend and made millions doing so.
According to Rolling Stone, TikTok has valued some of its own NFTs at $1 million. Now, it’s unclear if those tokens will ever hit the market.
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Dexerto)
Ariana Grande, Bella Hadid, and Others Honor World Mental Health Day
A slew of stars acknowledged the day by sharing personal stories and making hefty donations to organizations that offer mental health resources.
Celebrities Donate to Mental Health Organizations
Major celebrities honored World Mental Health Day on Sunday by speaking candidly about their mental health struggles and donating to nonprofits.
Singer Ariana Grande announced that she is donating $5 million worth of free therapy through the online counseling platform Better Help. The star previously partnered with the company over the summer to give $1 million in therapy to fans and opted to throw more money at the program following its success.
“I acknowledge that there are very real barriers when it comes to accessing mental health resources, and while this is only one small gesture (and a much larger systemic problem remains) I wanted to do this again with @betterhelp in hopes of bringing access to a few more people and perhaps inspiring a few of you to try something new and prioritize your own healing,” Grande wrote on Instagram.
Those interested can sign up for a free first month of Better Help and get an additional 15% off the second month.
Model Bella Hadid also pledged to donate to mental health resources. She teamed up with the beverage company Kin Euphorics, which will donate 10% of its October sales to Gurls Talk, a nonprofit that gives adolescent girls a space to talk about mental health, along with various educational tools to aid those discussions. Hadid will match those donations.
“Dealing with mental illness for most of my life, bringing awareness to the education of mental health through my platform is something that I will continue to do until our mental is just as respected as our physical,” Hadid wrote. “I want everyone who struggles daily to know that you are not alone.”
Stars Share Resources and Personal Stories
Meanwhile, actress and singer Selena Gomez used her new makeup brand Rare Beauty to share statistics about the prevalence of mental illness and the efforts to combat it. The company, which has previously focused on several mental health initiatives, shared that just 1.3% of philanthropic investments go towards supporting mental health.
The company additionally cited information from an American Psychological Association report, which revealed that young people are particularly vulnerable to mental health struggles. It found that seven out of 10 Gen Z adults are more likely to report experiencing depression symptoms compared to other generations.
Gomez shared Rare Beauty’s post to her own story as well.
Singer Olivia Rodrigo similarly opened up about mental health and therapy during an interview with CBS that aired Sunday. In it, she said she has been in therapy since she was 16, which she believes has helped her both personally and professionally.
“That was a really big, life-changing moment,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself.”
“I think there’s sometimes a stigma around it, too, like I was saying,” the singer continued. “Sometimes people are like, ‘Oh, you don’t need that. You have so much. Your life is so great. What are your problems?’ I think that’s definitely a thing that sometimes older people can do to younger people to kind of trivialize what they’re going through.”