The Sussexes are staying true to their goal of speaking out against injustices in the media.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex expressed their public support for journalists seeking to hold the Society of Editors (SoE) in the United Kingdom accountable in a post published on their Archewell foundation website last week, months after the organization claimed that the UK media is “most certainly not racist.” The Society of Editors (SoE) is an organization of approximately 400 top journalists in the United Kingdom.
“Archewell is a proud supporter of journalistic diversity and news media organizations that are committed to reporting the truth, uncovering untold stories and giving voice to the voiceless,” according to the statement.
“In every corner of the world, members of the media are using their power—and responsibility—to inform the public, teach communities, battle misinformation and inspire change.”
According to Archewell’s statement, they will continue to support independent media and reporters that advocate for a more varied media environment.
The letter goes on to say, “We also applaud the work of independent media, nonprofit newsrooms and trusted local news collectives.” “They demonstrate the deep need for this critical profession to thrive and evolve, particularly in terms of racial equity and representation in newsgathering and newsrooms.
“That’s why we support groups like The PressPad Charitable Foundation (which helps young people of diverse backgrounds gain entry into the journalism industry) and URL Media (a multi-platform network focused on community media organizations that directly serve and reflect their audiences).”
“For these reasons, we are seeking to bring awareness to a coalition of U.K. journalists calling for stronger initiatives to combat the underrepresentation, inequity and racial bigotry that still persist in this important industry.”
The group of journalists Harry and Meghan are referring to wrote in an open letter to the Society of Editors calling out “its statement denying the existence of racism and bigotry in the UK press in its response to Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
“Without admitting that racism exists and retracting their previous missive, the Society of Editors are denying the lived experiences of journalists of colour as well as those who have had unfavourable media coverage purely because of the colour of their skin,” the letter stated.
The statement issued on Monday is the latest development in Harry and Meghan’s long fight with the British press over the quality and tone of their coverage.
In recent months, Harry and Meghan have talked freely about how British tabloid culture was one of many factors in their decision to quit the royal family.
During the couple’s interview with Winfrey, Harry remarked, “What I was seeing was history repeating itself,” alluding to the tabloids’ infatuation with his mother, Princess Diana. He went on to say that the media’s obsession with Meghan was “definitely far more dangerous because then you add race in.”
This came after Harry and Meghan’s TV appearance, as well as the aftermath from Buckingham Palace’s response to accusations of racism resulting from Meghan and Harry’s shocking Oprah Winfrey interview. The startling remarks about Archie that made Oprah gasp in horror were also disclosed during the conversation.
When contacted by HuffPost, Dawn Alford, the SoE’s executive director, declined to comment on the Sussexes’ public support for the journalists, but she did address the group’s open letter.
“I, as the new Executive Director of the Society of Editors, take very seriously the points they raise,” Alford said in an email on Tuesday, adding that she plans to meet with the group’s representatives on Thursday to discuss “ways we can move forward and support diversity and inclusion within our industry.”
“My personal feelings are that there is not the diversity in our industry that we would like to see and we, the Society of Editors, will robustly play our part in helping improve that over the coming months, and years, on behalf of our members,” Alford said.
Following their decision to pull back from frontline royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan declared in April 2020 that they would have “zero engagement” with four British tabloids: The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, and The Express.