Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Speaks Out About ‘Hateful’ Online Bullying

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Speaks Out About ‘Hateful’ Online Bullying

The glare of public attention has often left Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, on the receiving end of strong opinions. And Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pushed back at that directly on Friday, criticizing a culture of bullying on social media.

“We have forgotten about our humanity, and that has got to change,” she said, while appearing on a keynote panel at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, focusing on the representation of women in entertainment and the media.

Meghan and Harry have voiced repeated concerns about how negative media attention has affected them, both while they were active members of Britain’s royal family and since they stepped back from royal duties in 2020 and moved to the United States.

Meghan said on Friday that she had received the bulk of online abuse while she was pregnant with her children, Archie and Lilibet, and in the months after their births.

“I keep my distance from it right now just for my own well-being,” Meghan said of the negative comments directed at her online, some of which she described as “hateful.”

“It’s not catty,” she said in the keynote session, which also included Brooke Shields, Katie Couric and the sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen. “It’s cruel.”

In a 2022 Netflix documentary, in which the couple talked in detail about their split from Britain’s royal family, Meghan said that she had struggled with mental health issues and experienced suicidal thoughts, in part because of the harsh media attention.

On Friday, she said that a cultural change was needed in social media habits. Online platforms, she said, incentivized people to “churn out very, very inciting comments and conspiracy theories that can have a tremendously negative effect on someone’s mental health.”

Meghan and Harry have also expressed concerns about their physical safety, notably after their car was pursued by photographers while in New York last May.

And the couple have tangled with British tabloids in court. Last month, a London court awarded Harry damages from The Mirror Group of newspapers after a judge found the group guilty of “widespread and habitual” hacking of his cellphone.

Nor are they the only members of Britain’s royal family to draw intense media and online attention.

Speculation over the family’s well-being has been particularly strong this year, as King Charles III, Harry’s father, revealed in February that he had received a cancer diagnosis, around the same time that Catherine, Princess of Wales, underwent abdominal surgery. Catherine, the wife of Prince William, Harry’s elder brother, has also been the subject of online rumors during her time away from the public eye.

For her part, Meghan said at SXSW that she was especially disturbed by “how much of the hate is women completely spewing that to other women.

“If you’re reading something terrible — terrible — about a woman, why are you sharing it with your friends?” she posited. “Why are you choosing to put that out in the world?”

Avatar photo

Kyle C. Garrison

Related Posts

Read also x