Meghan Markle Opens Up About How Royal Family Handles Racial Issues, Mental Health, and More
- In an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry revealed that the Royal Family made remarks about their son Archie’s race and status prior to his birth.
- “We [would] have in tandem the conversation of he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” Meghan said.
- The couple also discussed how brutal the British tabloids were to Meghan and how the family did nothing to protect them. Meghan even said she was brought to a dark mental headspace.
- “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore… I went to the institution and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help and I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
Royal Family Allegedly Denied Meghan Help
In their first joint interview since leaving the Royal Family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed to Oprah Winfrey the hardships they faced at the hands of the British press and members of their own family.
The highly anticipated two-hour television event aired Sunday on CBS and drew in over 17 million viewers. It aired just weeks after the couple marked their official exit from their roles as working members of the Royal Family. The two announced their departure early in 2020, citing the relentless negativity of tabloids.
This negativity was something Meghan and Winfrey spoke about at length during the interview. Thet discussed how some tabloid headlines were made to paint Meghan as a villain for simple things like holding her baby bump or eating an avocado. Others were flat-out lies. In one case, tabloids ran a story saying Meghan made her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, cry over flower girl dresses. According to Meghan, in reality, the reverse happened.
Still, the couple said that the family and the firm behind it did nothing to help Meghan and Harry fend off the lies and racist articles tabloids ran day after day.
“Not only was I not being protected, but they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband,” Meghan said.
Eventually, the brutal press narrative and the lack of support she was given to handle it brought Meghan to a dark headspace. She says the family, again, denied her help.
“I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought,” she told Winfrey.
“I went to the institution and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help and I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
Conversations About Archie’s Race
Tensions between the couple and the rest of the family also allegedly stemmed from conversations about their son Archie’s status and race. Meghan said that while she was pregnant with him, the palace decided to not give Archie a title as prince, meaning he would also not receive the security detail that comes with it. The firm gave no reason behind this break in precedent. The choice left Harry and Meghan concerned about their son’s safety.
Those were not the only remarks during her pregnancy that upset the couple.
“There were months when I was pregnant, all around the same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” Markle said.
That remark was allegedly made to Harry, who then passed it onto Meghan. Both refused to say who was behind it, but Winfrey has since clarified that it was neither Queen Elizabeth II nor her husband Prince Philip. Harry called the comment “shocking.”
Eventually, security and safety ended up being one of the major reasons the couple moved with their son to California. At one point while they were in Canada, the family cut off Prince Harry financially and took away his security. The Daily Mail had already published their Canadian address, so the two went to Los Angeles, where media mogul Tyler Perry offered his home and security.
During this time, Prince Harry said his father, Prince Charles, stopped taking his calls. The only funds they had were what Harry’s mother, Princess Diana had left him.
“Without that we would not have been able to do this,” Harry said before adding that he believes his mother “saw this coming.”
Fears of History Repeating Itself
Like Meghan, Princess Diana was the subject of daily tabloid fodder and seemingly abandoned the rest of the Royals. Harry made it clear throughout the interview that he was afraid “history would repeat itself” when it comes to his mother, who died in a car crash after being chased by paparazzi when Harry was 12.
These fears were the motive behind their choice to leave their lives as Royals, which was one they never wanted to make. The couple corrected headlines claiming that they “blindsided” the Queen, claiming that they had actually tried to meet the family halfway so that they could live lives of service but be out of the spotlight. They ultimately felt forced out.
Harry and Meghan then conjured up deals with Spotify and Netflix as a means to afford their own security detail, despite reports previously trying to imply that they left the family for the purpose of starting glamorous media careers.
The two now reside in Santa Barbara, where they are raising their son Archie and expecting a daughter in the summer. They expressed joy and pride in the new life they have made for themselves.
Harry said he is working on his relationship with his father and that he and his brother Prince William are currently giving each other space. He hopes that time will heal their issues.
See what others are saying: (NPR) (New York Times) (CBS News)
Twitch Tightens Policies on Explicit Deepfakes
“The creation, promotion, or viewing of this content is not welcome on Twitch,” the company said in a blog post.
New Rules Regarding “Synthetic NCEI”
Twitch is cracking down on explicit deepfake content and will indefinitely suspend users who share or promote it after a first offense.
“The existence of this content, and its presence and distribution on various sites, is personally violating and beyond upsetting. Deepfake porn isn’t a problem on Twitch, but it’s a terrible issue that some streamers (almost exclusively women) may face on the internet at large,” Twitch said in a Tuesday blog post, explaining it wants to “help streamers protect themselves” in any case this issue arises.
Twitch referred to this content as “synthetic non-consensual exploitative images,” or “synthetic NCEI,” but many of the platform’s users have casually referred to it as deepfake porn. Synthetic NCEI involves someone taking the face of another person and editing it into a pornographic video to make it appear as though that person filmed themselves demonstrating those sexual acts. The new rise in access to this technology has concerned many, as it is easy to use it to exploit others.
While synthetic NCEI is already banned on Twitch, the company took a more actionable step against it in its Tuesday post by creating an Adult Sexual Violence and Exploitation policy. The new rule prohibits the intentional sharing, promoting, or creation of synthetic NCEI and those acts can result in an indefinite suspension on the first offense.
Twitch also updated its Adult Nudity policy to include synthetic NCEI. Even if it is only shown briefly, that content will still be taken down and result in an enforcement.
In addition to the policy changes, Twitch made available a list of resources for those who might be impacted by or wish to learn more about synthetic NCEI.
“The creation, promotion, or viewing of this content is not welcome on Twitch,” the company said closing its blog post.
Growing Concerns About Explicit Deepfakes
Twitch’s updates come as synthetic NCEI and deepfakes have become a primary topic of concern for social media platforms. Earlier this year, Twitch was home to a major deepfake controversy after a streamer known as Atrioc was caught with an open tab to a website that hosted these videos. That site specifically hosted deepfakes of female Twitch streamers, some of whom were Atrioc’s colleagues.
Many women featured on the page spoke out against these deepfakes, explaining the trauma they endured knowing their face, image, and likeness were used in a sexual manner without their consent. It’s an issue that extends far past Twitch creators. Some fear they could be used for revenge porn, and there are already several cases where the technology is used to create sexual videos of celebrities.
On Tuesday, NBC News published a report finding that Facebook and Instagram ran suggestive ads featuring deepfakes of actresses like Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson. The ads were for a deepfake app that told users they could “replace face with anyone.”
While the ads did not show explicit pornographic content, one ad featuring Watson was clearly meant to mimic the start of an explicit video, suggesting a sexual act was about to start. The face of the “Harry Potter” actress was seen looking into the camera before bending down.
The report found that 127 ads with Watson deepfakes and 74 with Johansson deepfakes ran across Meta’s platforms on Sunday and Monday, but have since been removed. The app in question was also removed from the Apple app store after NBC News contacted the tech giant for comment.
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Engadget) (Kotaku)
Fans Defend Pedro Pascal After Actor Refused to Read Thirst Tweets: “It’s Sexual Harassment”
Pascal has been dubbed the Internet’s “daddy,” but many think the joke has gone too far.
Pascal’s Heartthrob Status
Fans are defending actor Pedro Pascal after he refused to read thirst tweets on the red carpet, arguing that it is inappropriate and disrespectful to ask him to do so.
Pascal, the star of HBO’s “The Last of Us” and Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” has become a major Hollywood heartthrob. He has even been widely dubbed as the Internet’s “daddy” by those posting about his handsome looks. The running joke grew last year when he did a Vanity Fair lie detector test and said he considered himself a “bigger daddy” than “Star Wars” star Oscar Isaac.
“Daddy is a state of mind, you know what I’m saying? I’m your daddy,” he quipped during the interview.
Since then, TikTokers have started posting thirst trap edits of Pascal, journalists have called him “daddy” on the red carpet, and interviewers have shown him tweets where fans call him a “cool, slutty daddy.”
Pascal has been a good sport about the public displays of lust for him, but many think the joke may have crossed a line. During last week’s red carpet premiere for season three of “The Mandalorian,” an Access Hollywood reporter went viral for asking Pascal to read thirst tweets to the camera. Pascal politely declined.
“No. Dirty! Dirty!” he told the reporter after reading through the tweets.
“For your enjoyment only,” she responded.
“Thank you very much,” Pascal said before exiting the interview.
Fans Condemn Thirst Tweet Interviews
In response, many who watched the clip condemned this treatment of Pascal, arguing it promoted constant objectification.
“I think it’s time for the internet to leave Pedro Pascal alone,” one person wrote. “It’s sexual harassment, but no one seems to care bc he’s a man + is graceful about it. It’s really gross and I would never want to be treated like that.”
“These jokes have gone way too far and he’s visibly uncomfortable,” another fan added.
Some claimed that while the Internet’s love of Pascal “started as harmless fun…the constant public objectification and sexualization must be terrible” and should stop.
“Being attractive, banking on it, selling it, and even at times enjoying some of the attention, doesn’t give everyone wholesale permission to sexualize you,” someone else argued.
See what others are saying: (IndieWire) (The Gamer) (BuzzFeed News)
Conservatives Pledge to #BoycottHershey After International Women’s Day Campaign Featured a Trans Woman
“I hope this campaign shows trans girls they can dream big and change the world too,” activist Fae Johnstone said in her Hers for She video.
Hershey Highlights Fae Johnstone
Step aside, Green M&M. Conservatives have a new candy that they’re mad at: Hershey bars.
On Wednesday, Hershey Canada unveiled its “Her for She” International Women’s Day initiative, which aims to celebrate “women changing the future.” Conservatives were quickly outraged by the company’s choice to highlight Fae Johnstone, a trans woman and LGBTQ+ rights activist, as part of this effort.
“We can create a world where everyone is able to live in public space as their honest and authentic selves,” Johnstone said in a “Her for She” video.
In addition to Johnstone, the campaign features gender equality activists, a climate tech researcher, and an indigenous rights activist, all of whom have fought for progress in their respective fields. The women will appear on Hershey’s websites, in marketing promotions, and in artistic renderings on Hershey bar wrappers.
Johnstone wrote on Twitter that she hopes Hershey’s campaign will “give more young women and girls role models” who can demonstrate how to “change the world, together.”
“It also means a lot to be included, as a young(ish?) trans woman,” Johnstone continued. “I grew up with few trans role models. Many young trans folks haven’t met a trans adult. I hope this campaign shows trans girls they can dream big and change the world too.”
A Swift Transphobic Backlash
This decision, however, prompted right-wing Twitter users to accuse Hershey of hating “real” women. Many of the posts included blatantly transphobic rhetoric, as well as promises to boycott the company because it went “woke.”
The outrage was so prominent that #BoycottHershey was one of the top Twitter trends on Thursday morning.
This backlash comes just a little over a month after conservative media figures like Tucker Carlson slammed M&M for making the green mascot character, well, less sexy.
In response to Mars changing the green candy’s outfit, Carlson accused the Mars company of making its characters “as unattractive as possible because when you’re intentionally repulsive, it’s clear you’ve got the right politics.”
Not long after the right-wing backlash, M&M opted to replace its “spokescandies” with actress Maya Rudolph.
The conservative outrage targeted at both Hershey and M&M is part of a larger culture war against any company that makes changes to address diversity, climate change, or other social issues. Brands like Xbox, “Sesame Street,” and more have at one point provoked the ire of Fox News hosts and other Republican figures.
In fact, their outrage against these progressive changes has become so common that once #BoycottHershey was trending, some tweeted that they did not even have to click on the hashtag “to know that they must have done something compassionate that the right hates.”