After Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s accusations of racism By the British press in their interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Society of Editors released a statement denying the claims.
The Society of Editors represents four hundred members of the British media.
In a statement with the headline ‘UK media not bigoted’, the Society of Editors initially said that “the UK media is not bigoted and will not be swayed from its vital role holding the rich and powerful to account.”
It also said that “the press is most certainly not racist” and that the UK press “has a proud history of calling out racism”.
After the statement was released, a number of individual journalists as well as outlets like the Huffington Post, the Yorkshire Post and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism withdrew from the society’s 2021 Press Awards.
Charlene White, a presenter for network ITV, also said she would no longer host the awards.
More than 168 journalists of colour wrote an open letter objecting to the statement.
The letter read, “while Meghan’s comments shone a light on her own personal experiences of discriminatory treatment, they reflect the depressingly familiar reality of how people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are portrayed by the UK press on a daily basis.”
“The Society of Editors’ claim that the Sussexes’ views were made without “supporting evidence” shows a wilful ignorance of not just the discriminatory treatment of Meghan — some of which was highlighted during the interview — but that of other people from an ethnic minority background.”
The editors of the Financial Times, Guardian and Huffington Post also publicly objected to it.
According to the Guardian, a number of board members objected to the statement, with one telling the publication that “it’s incredibly frustrating because that is far from a universal view in the media…it’s tone-deaf.”
Ian Murray’s resignation statement said he was stepping down so that the Society could “rebuild its reputation.”
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