Sir Elton John has everyone talking today about the “relentless” attacks on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by the UK press.
The environmentally-conscious royals are being slammed in the tabloids for using a private jet to travel to France. “THEIR ROYAL HYPOCRITES!” it reads on one paper, followed by “HEIR HEADS!” in big, bold letters.
As it turns out, the jet was provided by Sir Elton (so they didn’t waste any taxpayer money). They travelled this way for security reasons (as Jameela Jamil so eloquently explains, “it’s not safe for us to be on the same planes as royals or presidents you absolute muppets”) and the flight was made carbon neutral (better than nothing, right?). Given the circumstances, it sounds like they tried their best, though Piers Morgan believes their best would be travelling on a commercial flight instead. (More on this below.)
In an Insta post, Sir Elton calls on the media to stop the “untrue assassinations on their character that are spuriously crafted on an almost daily basis.”
Ellen Degeneres posted a message of support saying “imagine being attacked for everything you do, when all you’re trying to do is make the world better?” referring to Meghan and Harry’s countless charity efforts.
As did P!nk who says the bullying Meghan is subjected to in particular is “out of control. Let’s all be a bit kinder, huh?”
And here’s the thing. Whether you agree with the Piers Morgans or the P!nks of the world, whether you think the royals should’ve reduced their carbon footprint by taking a commercial flight instead of a private jet, it’s pretty obvious that Sir Elton’s message isn’t just about this one headline.
This has been a long time coming. This is about the years of racist headlines aimed at Meghan Markle. This is about the mum-shaming, the made-up pregnancies, the fabricated family feuds. This is about the paparazzi following their every move.
This is about Prince Harry already asking the press to back off in 2016, but getting nowhere with it.
This is about the “unnecessary press intrusion that contributed to Diana’s untimely death” which Sir Elton talks about in his post:
View this post on Instagram
I am deeply distressed by today’s distorted and malicious account in the press surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s private stay at my home in Nice last week. After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquility of our home. To maintain a high level of much-needed protection, we provided them with a private jet flight. To support Prince Harry’s commitment to the environment, we ensured their flight was carbon neutral, by making the appropriate contribution to Carbon Footprint™ I highly respect and applaud both Harry and Meghan’s commitment to charity and I’m calling on the press to cease these relentless and untrue assassinations on their character that are spuriously crafted on an almost daily basis.
There seems to be this mindset that because British taxpayers are forking out a whopping 69 pence per year (that’s about AU$1.20) for the royals, then the royals are fair game.
Like when the Duchess’ bodyguards told a handful of spectators to stop taking photos of her at Wimbledon, she was slammed by the media and told to “stop bleating her privacy” (Piers Morgan’s words). His argument was that she’s a public figure, out amongst the public. That British taxpayers are covering her security costs. And that therefore, she’s not allowed to complain about people taking photos of her.
But British taxpayers don’t own Meghan Markle. They don’t own her privacy. They don’t own her thoughts and feelings. We’re talking about a human here, not an object. Regardless of whether you’re the Duchess of Sussex or not, shouldn’t everyone have the right to say “hey, please don’t do that. It’s making me uncomfortable”?
Isn’t there a line?
Not for the tabloids, it seems. We all know they’re not going to stop taking aim at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex anytime soon. The reality is that anything related to the royal couple, no matter how gloriously fabricated or misguided it may be, sells.
That’s where we come in. You and I. The consumers.
Here are 3 things we can all do to support Sir Elton’s calls to stop the “relentless” headlines:
- THINK TWICE about the publications we throw our money at:
Sure, we can’t physically stop the tabloids from publishing the gossip, the lies, the bullying or the shaming. We can’t stop the paparazzi from following their every move. But we can think twice about the publications we throw our money at.
The truth is, we are all guilty of continuing this sick cycle of celebrity news attacking Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, because every time we buy these tabloids or magazines, we are essentially telling the big bosses that this is what we want to read. So they print more of it. They send out more journalists to turn non-stories into stories about the royal couple. And when they get stuck? Well there’s always that “unnamed source” who can help them out, right?
Consider buying the publications the royals themselves support. The ones they link to on social media. The ones they agree to do interviews with. British Vogue’s a good start.
2. THINK TWICE about the links we click online:
How many times have you seen a juicy headline about Harry and Meghan on your Facebook feed and clicked on it without thinking, only to read a story full of unsubstantiated rubbish? Yeah, it happens a lot.
Let’s start recognising clickbait for what it is. Let’s start thinking twice about what we click on, because the more we click on these stories, the more of these stories will be written.
3. FIND A POSITIVE STORY and share that instead:
When we comment on a story that tears someone down or attacks them in some way – even if what we say is supportive – we are, in this crazy online world of ours, breathing further life into that negative story. We are ensuring the story appears in our friends’ news feeds. We’re sending that story to an even wider audience.
This doesn’t mean that we should never stand up for those who need support. In fact, that’s one of the kindest things we can do. It just means that as well as doing this, we can also actively find positive stories and comment on those too. Share those. Push those stories to the top of our friends’ news feeds. Drown out the negativity with kindness.
Here’s a great little one from Aussie paralympian Dylan Alcott who recently received a letter from Prince Harry:
It won’t always work, but it’s worth a shot. Have you got any other ideas? Please let us know below.