Royals

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex depart Cana...
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Prince Harry Shared Some Strong Words About The Term “Megxit”

The Duke of Sussex condemned mainstream media outlets for repeatedly using a term he argued was first created by an online troll.

After years of being criticized by tabloids and newspapers, Prince Harry is speaking out about the media’s coverage of his and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down from their roles as senior working members of Britain’s royal family. The Duke of Sussex specifically took fault with the media’s repeated use of the word “Megxit” to describe their exit, calling it a “misogynistic” term first used by an online troll.

“Maybe people know this and maybe they don’t, but the term ‘Megxit’ was or is a misogynistic term,” Prince Harry said Tuesday while participating in a panel discussion at Wired’s RE:WIRED conference. “It was created by a troll, amplified by royal correspondents, and it grew and grew and grew into mainstream media. But it began with a troll.”

While many associate the term “Megxit” with the Sussexes’ 2020 exit from the royal family, the term was actually being used on social media in anti-Meghan Markle posts well before the couple announced their intention to step down as senior royals. According to CNN, a 2019 report from the U.K. advocacy group Hope Not Hate revealed accounts against the Duchess of Sussex were using the hashtag “Megxit” shortly after Meghan announced she was pregnant with her and Prince Harry’s first child in October 2018. According to Vanity Fair, the term was actually created as a way for social media accounts to urge the Duchess of Sussex to exit the royal family and Britain.

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During Tuesday’s “The Internet Lie Machine” panel, Prince Harry cited a recent analysis from Twitter’s Bot Sentinel that found more than 70% of hate speech, disinformation, and targeted harassment of his wife on Twitter came from just 83 accounts. “Perhaps the most troubling part of this is the number of British journalists interacting with and amplifying the heat and the lies,” he said Tuesday of the report’s findings. “But they regurgitate these lies as truth.”

Unfortunately, the dangers of manufactured media sensationalism are not unknown to Prince Harry, who saw his mother Princess Diana constantly hounded by tabloids and paparazzi. “I learned from a very early age that the incentives of publishing are not necessarily aligned with the incentives of truth,” Prince Harry said during Tuesday’s panel.

He went on to accuse the British media of successfully turning news based on facts into “opinion-based gossip” with devastating consequences. “I know this story all too well,” he said. “I lost my mother to this self-manufactured rabidness, and obviously, I’m determined not to lose the mother of my children to the same thing.”