Meghan Markle on Social Media Hate: ‘It’s Not Catty, It’s Cruel’

Miu von Furstenberg 6 Min Read
6 Min Read
Prince Harry Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex - Endeavour Fund Awards
Photo Credit: ALPR/AdMedia

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According to Meghan Markle, the majority of the online “bullying” she experienced occurred during her pregnancy with her children, 4-year-old Archie and 2-year-old Lilibet.

At the South By South West event in Austin, Texas, the Duchess of Sussex gave a keynote presentation on women's leadership both on and off the screen and also spoke about the potential dangers of social media. This event was preceded by her being featured as a visionary female leader on the SXSW 2024 lineup.

During a discussion, Errin Haines, the moderator, inquired about the impact of social media on women and girls. She stated that it has become a platform where they are often subjected to scrutiny, objectification, and bullying. She also acknowledged that the panelists have likely experienced this struggle themselves. Haines then asked how they cope with the constant stream of toxicity directed towards them.

Harry and Meghan at Roundtable with the Queens Commonwealth Trust and One Young World
25 October 2019 – Windsor, UK – Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex at a roundtable discussion on gender equality with The Queen's Commonwealth Trust (QCT) and One Young World at Windsor Castle. (Photo Credit: ALPR/AdMedia)

“Yes, social media is an environment that I think has a lot of that,” she said Friday. “You know, I think it’s really interesting as I can reflect on it, I keep my distance from it right now just for my own well-being, but the bulk of the bullying and abuse that I was experiencing on social media and online was when I was pregnant with Archie and Lili, and with a newborn with each of them.”

According to reports, Markle felt unprotected by the monarchy during her pregnancy with Archie while also dealing with significant emotional distress and mental health issues. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, Markle revealed that she struggled with suicidal thoughts after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018 due to the negative media attention she received in the British press.

Archie was born on May 6, 2019, a few months before Harry and Meghan resigned from the royal family in January 2020. Their second child, daughter Lilibet, was born on June 4, 2021, while they were living in California.

Prince Harry Duke of Sussex Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex and son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation
Prince Harry Duke of Sussex, Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex and son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor during a visit to the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo Credit: ALPR/AdMedia)

Markle, who made an Instagram account in September but has yet to post anything, continued about the “bullying” at SXSW, “You just think about that, and to really wrap your head around why people would be so hateful. It’s not catty, it’s cruel.”

“And why you would do that. Certainly, when you’re pregnant, with a newborn, we all know as moms, it’s such a tender and sacred time.”

“I think you know, you could either succumb to it, nearly succumb to how painful that it is,” she went on. “And maybe in some regards, because I was pregnant, that mammalian instinct just kicked in. You do everything you can to protect your child, and as a result, protect yourself, too.”

The host of the Archetypes podcast shared her extended opinions on the negatives of social media, expressing her concern over the prevalence of women spreading hate towards other women. She found it alarming that this behavior is so common.

Meghan and Harry Archive Oprah Winfrey Interview
Prince Harry Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex during a reception hosted by the British Ambassador to Morocco at the British Residence during the second day of the Royal tour of Morocco in Rabat, Morocco. (Photo Credit: ALPR/AdMedia)

“Reading something terrible about a woman, why are you sharing it with your friends?” Markle asked. “That’s the piece that’s so lost right now. We’ve forgotten about our humanity … Even if it’s making dollars, it doesn’t make sense.”

Meghan Markle questioned the act of spreading negative information about a woman to friends, stating that the true issue is losing our empathy. She emphasized that it lacks logic even if there may be financial gain.

Speaking about a platform such as YouTube, where the SXSW conversation was broadcasted, the former Suits star added, “Everyone can hear the brilliance of this platform, but it also has hate and rhetoric. [The platform] incentivizes people to create pages to turn out comments and conspiracy theories that have a tremendous effect on mental health and safety.”



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