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Meghan Markle Receives Backlash for Her Comments About the Importance of Voting in the 2020 Election

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  • 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)

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“Emancipation” Producer Apologizes, Hopes He Did Not “Distract” From Film’s Message By Bringing Photo of Enslaved Man to Premiere 

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He said he plans on donating his collection of historical images to appropriate institutions.


McFarland Brings “Whipped Pete” Photo to Premiere 

“Emancipation” producer Joey McFarland apologized on Sunday after facing backlash for bringing the original 1863 photo of the enslaved person the film is based on to the premiere. 

“I wholeheartedly apologize to everyone I have offended by bringing a photograph of Peter to the Emancipation premiere,” he wrote in a statement on Instagram. “My intent was to honor this remarkable man and to remind the general public that his image not only brought about change in 1863 but still resonates and promotes change today.”

The photo, frequently dubbed “Whipped Peter,” is one of the most famous images depicting the gruesome realities of slavery in America. He is facing away from the camera, revealing the severe scarring all across his back. According to the Library of Congress, the formerly enslaved man was actually named Gordon. Will Smith plays him in “Emancipation,” which follows his escape from slavery.

While walking the red carpet of the film’s premiere, McFarland carried the photo with him.  

“I have the photo. This is the original photograph from 1863,” he told Variety. “I wanted it to be here tonight. I wanted a piece of Peter to be here tonight.”

While lamenting the fact that so many historical artifacts have not been properly preserved, McFarland told Variety that he “took it upon [him]self to curate and build a collection for future generations.” He said his collection will be donated after he dies. 

His remarks were met with swift criticism from those who thought it was inappropriate for McFarland to not just own the picture, but to bring it to a Hollywood event. 

“Why do you own the photograph? Why did you bring it to a movie premiere if the intent is to preserve it respectfully?” The Black List founder Franklin Leonard tweeted.

“I don’t know, man, but bringing ‘a piece of Peter’ that you ‘own’ to the red carpet of a movie that’s personally enriching you so that you can collect more slave memorabilia that you’ll keep until your death,” he added along with a giphy of Kenan Thompson saying “yikes.”

McFarland Acknowledges Historical Photos “Belong to the World”

Others argued that the photo should belong to Gordon’s family. 

“Being in possession of a symbol that reflects our trauma is exactly what our oppressor would do. He is his ancestor’s child,” another person added. 

In his apology, McFarland said that he hopes his actions “don’t distract from the film’s message, Peter’s story and just how much impact he had on the world.”

Throughout the development of “Emancipation,” McFarland said he discovered many photos of overlooked individuals with important historical stories. He said he always planned to donate them and believes “there is no better time to begin that process than now.”

“These photographs, which existed before me, will be around long after I am gone; they belong to the world,” he wrote.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Daily Beast)

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Joe Rogan Holds Spot As Top Podcaster on Spotify in 2022

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Earlier this year, some threatened to boycott the platform over Rogan and the health misinformation he shared on his show. 


For the third year in a row, “The Joe Rogan Experience” was the number one podcast on Spotify, the company revealed in its yearly “Wrapped” feature on Wednesday. 

“The Joe Rogan Experience” became exclusive to Spotify in 2020 after the host signed a lucrative deal with the audio streaming platform. “Call Her Daddy” by Alex Cooper, also a Spotify exclusive, followed Rogan on the charts. “Anything Goes With Emma Chamberlain,” which will become exclusive to the service next year, came in third.

Rogan’s podcast has made several headlines over the last year as the podcaster faced backlash from medical professionals and major musicians for touting COVID-19 misinformation. Niel Young asked to have his music removed from Spotify in protest of the company’s deal with Rogan, and several other artists soon followed. 

Just a few days later, several clips resurfaced of Rogan using a racial slur. Many called to boycott Spotify for platforming Rogan, but his popularity did not seem to fade by the year’s end. 

There are over four million podcasts available to stream on Spotify and over the last year, the platform has expanded into new markets. 

It also has started launching podcasts from several high-profile figures, including Kim Kardashian’s “The System,” and Meghan Markle’s “Archetypes.” Both of those debuted mid-year and did not crack the annual top-five list.

See what others are saying: (Spotify) (Variety) (Forbes)

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Comedian Gives David Beckham Ultimatum: Exit Role at Qatar World Cup Or £10K in Donations Gets Shredded

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“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded,” Joe Lycett said in a video.


Pressure on Beckham

Comedian Joe Lycett posted a video on Sunday saying he would shred £10,000 if soccer star David Beckham does not pull out of his deal to be an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup. 

Ahead of the event, which kicks off on Nov. 20, many have been raising concerns about human rights abuses in Qatar. The country criminalizes homosexuality, and it can be punishable by death. 

Beckham’s deal to represent the country was reportedly worth £10 million, and many are frustrated that the athlete took such a big check from a country with known anti-LGBTQ laws. In his video, Lycett noted that Beckham has been openly supportive of his gay fans and was the first premiere footballer to do a photoshoot with a gay magazine. 

In an attempt to get Beckham to bow out of his role, Lycett, who is pansexual, offered an ultimatum.  

“If you end your relationship with Qatar, I’ll donate this £10,000 of my own money, that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting, to charities that support queer people in football,” he stated. “However, if you do not, at midday next Sunday, I will throw this money into a shredder.” 

“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded.” 

Beckham’s Reputation “Shredded”

Lycett said he would livestream the money shredding if that’s what the situation comes to. If Beckham does not back out of the World Cup, Lycett noted he will be forced to “commit what might be a crime,” as destroying legal tender is against the law in the U.K.

“Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha,” Lycett quipped.

Lycett then linked to a website titled https://benderslikebeckham.com/, which includes a written version of his message, as well as a countdown to when he will either shred the cash or send it to a non-profit. 

Lycett is not the only U.K star to raise concerns about issues in Qatar. Singer Dua Lipa shut down speculation that she would be performing at the World Cup over the weekend by saying she has no intentions to visit the country until “it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host” the event. 

Other stars, however, including BTS’s Jung Kook, are slated to take the stage. 

See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hollywood Reporter) (BBC News)

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