Illustrations by Megan Le Brocq
Like many of us, I’ve been feeling particularly uncomfortable recently, ever since that interview, the interview that left me wrestling with what I believed, what I didn’t, what I empathised with and what left me cringing and frustrated. It was, frankly, incredibly inorganic, cliché and painful to watch; Oprah behaving more like their confidant, than an interviewer. The chicken coop scenes oozed with manufactured, reality TV style, emotional ques. But, now I wonder, where do my thoughts sit in the debate that has no middle? Am I allowed to dislike Meghan, but sympathise with her mental health troubles? Can I be concerned about the alleged racist comments made towards Archie’s skin colour, whilst also squirming at them trying to portray their ‘new normal’ life in their £11 million LA mansion.
Apparently not. It seems there’s only one right answer – believe her or face the wrath of 41,000 complaints, the duchess herself, a TV standoff and eventual loss of job. I’ve never liked the man, but Piers Morgan has had a tough week after stating “I don’t believe a word she says, Meghan”, calling it “a two hour trashathon” of the royal family. A man always known to speak his mind, to voice what many others would never dare, to have the ‘un-woke’ opinion – has suddenly been forced to quit. A journalist sacked by a duchess. What world are we living in?
Fear not, I hate the thought of a white, wealthy, middle-aged man telling a Black woman what she did or did not think, feel, and experience– my inner feminist screaming at the audacity of someone who never has and never will live her experiences. His comments were too harsh, too scathing, largely unfounded and yes, he did take it too far.
Yet, except for calling bullshit on her mental health struggles which was cruel, damaging and wrong– I stand with him. Not for what he said, but because he said it, for disputing Meghan’s claims against the royal family when everyone else was far too scared to. These are not ‘facts’, but ‘claims’; we need these kind of debates in the public domain, however uncomfortable and awkward they are. This is exactly why we live in a democracy with freedom of speech and freedom of press. “Do we have to believe everything she said?”, Morgan asked on Good Morning Britain, and it’s a question I keep grappling with. Do we have to? Can I be ‘woke’ and still not trust her?
As I breeze across different newspapers, I see that no one is daring to speak their mind, journalist after journalist refusing to pick a side because they ‘don’t dare’ said Giles Coren for The Times, remaining too ‘afraid of what would happen’ if he did. Morgan, however, remains resolute in his claims that Harry and Meghan’s interview was “diatribe of bilge”.
I do think Morgan should stand down and apologise on his disbelief over Meghan’s mental health issues. I don’t think he should apologise for having an opinion on all else. “The woke crowd if they think they have cancelled me, I think they will be rather disappointed when I re-emerge”, he said, calling his current predicament a “temporary hibernation”. Morgan will be absolutely fine, yet will journalism? Someone has to be able to challenge Meghan, we cannot all be ‘woke’.
“My opinions remain my opinions, they can’t silence that”, Morgan stated outside his home to reporters. Just as Meghan Markle never deserved to be “silenced” by the royal family, did Morgan deserve to be silenced by Meghan?