Meghan Markle would like you to know the new smoking is not sitting but reading tabloids. At a New York Times summit on Tuesday, Markle said that she feels tabloids should come with a mental-health warning akin to the FDA-required health warnings on cigarette packs.
This week, Markle joined Times editor Andrew Ross Sorkin to talk about her position at Archewell Foundation, a nonprofit she founded with Prince Harry. After Sorkin mentioned that tabloids will tell you “all sorts of crazy things about being a boss,” Markle cut in, saying, “Firstly I would urge you not to read tabloids.” She continued, “I don’t think that’s healthy for anyone. Hopefully, one day they come with a warning label like cigarettes do. Like, ‘This is toxic for your mental health.’”
Markle has been voicing her disdain for the U.K. tabloid media, particularly its racist coverage of her, ever since she and Prince Harry left the royal family. She’s currently in a legal standoff with Associated Newspaper Limited, which she successfully sued earlier this year for copyright and privacy infringement after one of its papers, The Mail on Sunday, published pieces of a “personal and private” letter to her father in 2018. ANL recently launched a challenge to the ruling. She addressed that case specifically during the summit, saying it’s “just me standing up for what’s right.”
Prince Harry also spoke about his wife’s fraught relationship with the media on Tuesday at a separate summit hosted by Wired magazine, which included discussing his dislike of the term Megxit, widely used as a reference to his and Markle’s choice to step away from the royal family. He called it a “misogynistic term that was created by a troll, amplified by world correspondents, and it grew and grew and grew onto mainstream media.” He yet again likened the media’s attacks on Markle to the press frenzy his mother, Princess Diana, suffered in the years leading up to her death, referencing the speculation that the car crash that killed Diana was caused by paparazzi chasing her car. He said, “I lost my mother to this self-manufactured rabidness, and obviously I’m determined not to lose the mother to my children to the same thing.”
Harry referenced a recent Twitter analytics report that revealed a coordinated online attack on Markle coming from just 83 accounts. “This isn’t just a social media problem,” he said, “it’s a media problem.” Earlier this year, Harry won his own case against the Mail on Sunday after suing them for libel. The couple is also taking legal action against two paparazzi agencies for photographing them with their 1-year-old son last year. Setting the media’s vicious treatment of him and his wife against the broader misinformation crisis, Harry recalled learning “from a very early age the incentives of publishing are not necessarily aligned with the incentives of truth.”
He argued that the U.K. press “don’t report the news, they create it,” adding that they have been “successful in turning fact-based news into opinion-based gossip with devastating consequences for the country.”