Not holding back. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s move to the U.S. had some people divided, and the Duke of Sussex is now speaking out about the responses that targeted his wife.
“Maybe people know this and maybe they don’t, but the term Megxit was or is a misogynistic term, and it was created by a troll, amplified by royal correspondents, and it grew and grew and grew into mainstream media,” Harry, 37, explained while on a panel at Wired‘s Re:Wired Conference on Tuesday, November 9, according to Vanity Fair. “But it began with a troll.”
The U.K. native pointed out the harm that comes from misinformation being spread online.
“This problem did not originate on social media, and you don’t have to be online to be affected by it,” he noted. “I learned from an early age that the incentives of publishing are not aligned with the incentives of truth.”
Harry and Meghan, 40, who tied the knot in 2018, made headlines two years later when they announced plans to step back from their senior royal duties. They confirmed that the decision was made permanent in February. At the time, some referred to the move as “Megxit,” a reference to the Suits alum’s exit.
One month later, the California native opened up about how much she struggled with the British press tearing her apart.
“I just didn’t see a solution. I would sit up at night, and I was just, like, I don’t understand how all of this is being churned out,” Meghan said in their CBS tell-all interview in March. “I realized that it was all happening just because I was breathing. I was really ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry, especially, because I know how much loss he’s suffered. But I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.”
While reflecting on the situation, Harry mentioned his late mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car accident after being chased by the U.K. press in 1997.
“I know the story all too well. I lost my mother to this self-manufactured rabidness, and I don’t want to lose the mother of my children to the same thing,” Harry added on Tuesday, referring to his wife with whom he shares son Archie, 2, and daughter Lilibet, 5 months.
Harry backed up his point with a recent Bot Sentinel study that examined how the pair were targets of a coordinated social media campaign.
“More than 70 percent of the hate speech about my wife was driven by fewer than 50 accounts, and perhaps the most disturbing part of this was the number of British journalists who were interacting with them and amplifying the lies,” he revealed. “But they regurgitate these lies as truth.”
Late last month, the report detailed how fake social media accounts were created in order to spread hate about Harry and Meghan on a larger scale.
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“Our research revealed these accounts were brazenly coordinating on the platform, and at least one account was openly recruiting people to join their hate initiative on Twitter,” the study detailed. “Our research found that a relatively small number of single-purpose anti-Meghan and Harry accounts created and disseminated most of the hateful content on Twitter.”
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