Top royal commentators have come under fire after they were filmed giving their views on the performance of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in their long-awaited interview with Oprah Winfrey for an undisclosed fee, days before they saw her.
Four commenters, including the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter and CNN royal commentator Victoria Arbiter, gave interviews to a fake news company set up by YouTuber pranksters Josh Pieters and Archie Manners on Friday, two days earlier. the interview aired. They had been told that it would be shown immediately after the CBS show aired.
In the joke, Majesty magazine commentator and editor-in-chief Ingrid Seward said of the Duchess of Sussex, “In my opinion, this was an actress who was giving one of her great performances: from start to finish, Meghan was acting”. , despite not having seen the interview.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said it was “not a balanced interview,” accusing Oprah of giving the couple “an easy ride” and being “totally understanding,” and said that Meghan “used extremely strong language to describe their relationships. with members of the royal family. ” family”.
The YouTubers also misled some of the experts into discussing bogus topics allegedly covered in Oprah’s interview, including Meghan’s support for the Balham donkey sanctuary and refusal to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
The pair have become infamous for their high-profile banter, tricking celebrities like Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards into interviewing for a Borat movie, influential people to promote gravel, and nominating reality star Gemma Collins for a Nobel Peace Prize.
The couple told The Guardian they had “wondered if people would say things that weren’t necessarily true to just jump on the rumor of this Harry and Meghan interview, and it turned out they would.”
“For me, it’s like asking a football commentator to give me 90 minutes of voice commentary on [a match they haven’t seen]. It’s such a ridiculous premise, ”Manners said, insisting that they deliberately misled the commentators rather than the news correspondents, and did not intend the video to be an attack on the press. “These people charge news organizations for their opinions, and their opinions shape public opinion.”
The duo insisted they weren’t guiding the commentators or “feeding them lines”, simply asking “general questions that you just can’t answer if you haven’t seen the interview.”
“Then we decided that having done so, we would push it a little further and come up with the dumbest things we could imagine, almost to give them a chance,” Manners said. “We said, ‘In the interview, Meghan says she won’t get vaccinated.’ We’re hoping a royal insider who supposedly knows a lot about Meghan at the time will, wait, that seems somewhat unlikely.
“Also, I would say, it seems somewhat unlikely that Meghan Markle is going to talk about the Balham Donkey Sanctuary. We only mentioned these facts when they were so ambiguous that commenting on them would be ridiculous. “
The duo also denied claims that they had told commenters that only relevant comments would be used, saying that the commenters had signed authorization forms giving YouTubers all rights to use the video however they wanted. They also insisted that the edit was “incredibly fair.”
“I think it’s all a comment on the modern world,” Pieters said. “You have to really think about the information you receive, and try to verify it and do some research on what you hear and read … I think this video points to that in a way of saying, sometimes the things you see are not always. as they seem “.
When asked about his role in the video, Fitzwilliams said he “obviously didn’t know it was a sting” and that the comments had been “used out of context.”
“The arrangement was that comments would be broadcast depending on what was in the interview, so nothing inappropriate would have come up from anyone contributing,” he said. “By then we had seen two trailers. Along with the hype, it promised to be quite toxic and define Harry and Meghan’s relationship with the royal family for the foreseeable future. “
“This kind of pre-registration, the advance footage, is done frequently for various news stories, obituaries, etc. so that journalists have instant feedback in case of breaking news. There is nothing dishonorable about it, ”he added.
Dickie Arbiter said that the approach of Beneath the Fold, the name of the fake media company, “is allegedly a legitimate invitation for a quick-response, pre-recorded interview commissioned by a UK broadcaster, which will air on Monday 8 March. 2021.
“This was deliberately misleading and a ‘scam.’ I only commented on the clips that were already in global circulation, but my interview was edited to imply that I was speculating on the full show interview. He was not speculating. I don’t speculate. “
Representatives of the other commenters have been contacted for comment. Archewell, the organization of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, declined to comment.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism