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Image / Editorial

Kensington Palace spends ‘hours’ tackling online abuse and threats towards Kate and Meghan


by Jennifer McShane
29th Jan 2019
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Kensington Palace is attempting to combat online abuse targeting Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle on social media. Palace staff are reportedly “spending hours each week moderating sexist and racist comments” aimed at the duchesses online, according to Emily Nash, Hello!‘s royal correspondent, reporting. She points out that a handful of “violent threats” threats have been made towards the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex, and their fans are also targeting each other with “vicious” online abuse.

Both women are subjected to daily bouts of racism and classism by parts of the media, amplified in recent months by an attempt by certain tabloid publications to “pit” each woman against the other.

Meghan vs Kate has reached fever pitch and it’s no longer about who has better hair; things are clearly taking a more sinister turn. Threats and abuse, in any form, are no joke.

Related: Will we ever stop pitting Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton against each other?

According to reports, “The Palace has always monitored comments but it’s a hugely time-consuming thing. They can block certain words, but some of it is quite serious. Over the course of last year, with hundreds of thousands of comments, there were two or three that were violent threats. You can delete and report and block people and the police have options around particular people. It’s something you have to manage because there’s no other way to control it.”

 

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It’s gotten to be such an issue of concern, that the Palace has reportedly reached out to Instagram for their help on the issue and “police have been involved in a couple of situations.”

This situation doesn’t seem dissimilar to the time which Kensington Palace released an unprecedented statement asking the media and public to stop the wave of “abuse and harassment,” from “outright to sexism” to racism, Meghan Markle and her family, friends, co-workers and ex-boyfriend had received.

“Petty” comments

Nash has described much of the comments and so on as “petty,” but there’s nothing “petty” about thousands of comments in a week (much of them made by women), directed at both Middleton and Kate body-shaming them, making racist remarks as well as comments on class. Petty might be rolling your eyes at the number of articles dedicated to Kate’s re-usable fashion choices, but this is something else entirely.

“Why must there be a “side” at all? What is it about society that insists on rivalling different women in similar circumstances against each other? Why must we always favour one?”

You should not love everything they do. That is not life. That is not interesting. And opinions should be able to be formed without spouting hate towards each other.

Fighting back

Some of the British press is, however, attempting to fight such abuse.

The Times UK reported in a recent editorial that many of the comments made about Meghan and Kate “are too vicious to publish” saying, “Women receive more abuse online than men and this sad truth seems to apply just as much to the royal family.”

Hello! magazine has also launched a #HelloToKindness campaign to encourage “positivity online.”

In the meantime, an old saying seems appropriate here, in that if you can’t say anything nice, why say anything at all?

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