Now that Meghan and Harry are in America and operating outside of the stifling confines of the Windsor clan, the Sussex brand is going Hollywood. That doesn’t just refer to their new home in California either. They’re no longer being funded by British taxpayers as part of their plans to be fully financially independent so that means that they don’t have to play by the old rules.
On Sunday night, the pair sent a letter to the editors of the four major British tabloids — The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, and Daily Express. In it, they announced that there would be a policy of ‘zero engagement’ with these publications going forward, except when necessary through the couple’s lawyers. This is a major move from Meghan and Harry and a sign of just how much freedom they now have outside of the royal system.
The pair said that, while they strongly supported freedom of the press, they refused to ‘offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion’ and accused the publications of deliberately running stories about them that were ‘distorted, false, or invasive beyond reason.’ The letter goes on to say:
‘There is a real human cost to this way of doing business and it affects every corner of society. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know - as well as complete strangers - have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue.
With that said, please note that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be engaging with your outlet. There will be no corroboration and zero engagement. This is also a policy being instated for their communications team, in order to protect that team from the side of the industry that readers never see.
This policy is not about avoiding criticism. It’s not about shutting down public conversation or censoring accurate reporting. Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can’t be based on a lie.’
So this’ll go down well with the tabloids. Boo for them, I suppose.
Meghan and Harry were accused endlessly of ‘wanting it both ways’ — demanding privacy while still being part of the royal way of life. Well, they’re not part of it now. They’ve quit their formal roles, relocated to the other side of the world, and are getting on with the business of being full-on celebrities. That last part has been seen as ‘cheapening the brand’ of royalty by some but it’s essentially what royals have been for the past few decades: They’re classy celebrities with some historical depth, that’s all. Any attempts to fully embrace that reality was shot down in a heartbeat because, for all the talk from the media about the monarchy needing to ‘modernize’, they don’t really want them to get on with the work of being modern. Being a modern celebrity means bypassing traditional media to get your message across, and that’s exactly what the Sussexes are doing.
Now they’re in Hollywood, they’re working with Sunshine Sachs, a communications and management firm that works with film and TV stars to help them with PR. They’re free to be the sort of philanthropists that you can only be when you’re mega-famous and not tied to nobility, and they seem much happier with that option. They’re not obliged to be friendly to the same press outlets that employ Piers Morgan to be endlessly sexist and racist towards one of them. They don’t have to invite the royal reporters to every event and play nice to the same journalists blaming ecological disasters on Meghan’s love of avocados.
That doesn’t mean that they’ll get nothing but good press now. This will clearly just make those bad faith writers angrier. The difference here is that it won’t be a two-way street by obligation anymore. The American gossip press has always been kinder to Meghan and Harry and that’ll only benefit their current plans. It also makes them a more deliberately international brand. It’s a smart move and one that would arguably be good for the British royals in the long-run, not that they would ever acknowledge that. A lot of those folks are too cozy in their relations with the press to keep things smooth. Remember the gossip about William and Rose Hanbury? The British tabloids certainly don’t.
I am fascinated to see the full Hollywood-ification of Meghan and Harry. It’ll certainly be more interesting than the Windsors’ continuing attempts to make us all forget that Prince Andrew was BFFs with a pedophile.
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