Prince Harry says Megxit is a misogynistic term aimed at Meghan

10 November 2021, 12:12 | Updated: 10 November 2021, 15:38

Harry continued his feud with the British press during a panel appearance
Harry continued his feud with the British press during a panel appearance. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Prince Harry has claimed Megxit is a misogynistic term created by an online troll before being adopted by the British media.

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The word is used to describe the decision made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to depart from royal duties and move to the US.

"70 per cent of the hate speech about my wife on Twitter can be traced to fewer than 50 accounts," Harry said.

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He made the comments as he appeared on a panel discussing misinformation at the RE:WIRED summit, during which he continued his feud with the British press.

"I learned from a very early age that the incentives of publishing are not necessarily aligned with the incentives of truth," he said.

The 37-year-old, who lives in Southern California with Meghan and the couple's two children, invoked the memory of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales and again said his wife was receiving similar treatment.

He said: "They don't report the news, they create it and they've successfully turned fact-based news into opinion-based gossip with devastating consequences for the country.

"So I know the story all too well. I lost my mother to this self-manufactured rabidness and obviously I'm determined not to lose the mother to my children to the same thing."

James O'Brien on Prince Harry's attitude to the British press

Harry nodded to comments he made in a mental health series he appeared in earlier this year and said "they won't stop until she's dead" - a reference to Meghan.

He said "the scale of misinformation now is terrifying" and warned families are being "destroyed" by the problem.

Asked if users should delete their social media accounts, Harry noted he and Meghan are not on any platforms and will not return until changes are made.

He added it "simply isn't true" that the challenge of misinformation "is too big to fix, it's too big to solve".

Asked if he has spoken to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg or Twitter CEO Dorsey, the duke also said he warned the latter his site was facilitating a coup on the eve of the January 6 riots at the US Capitol.

He said: "Jack and I were emailing each other prior to January 6 when I warned him his platform was allowing a coup to be staged. That email was sent the day before.

"And then it happened and I haven't heard from him since."

Prince Harry says he warned Twitter CEO ahead of January 6 riots

A group of Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building in Washington DC over claims the presidential election was rigged - and the role social media giants played in enabling the attack is being investigated.

Twitter has been contacted for comment.

Harry works at think tank the Aspen Institute and looks into misinformation and disinformation in the media.

The internet is "being defined by hate, division and lies", he said.

He said while a lie on social media is dangerous, "when that same lie is given credibility by journalists or publishers, it's unethical and as far as I'm concerned an abuse of power".

He questioned who was holding the media to account, claiming "it's kind of become a bit of a digital dictatorship".

Harry suggested the solution could be to invest in and support "honest journalists" who "respect and uphold the values of journalism".

"Real journalists" have the power to "tackle racism, misogyny, lies, all of it" from "within their own system", he said.

He added he would like to see journalists investigate their "unethical, immoral and dishonest" colleagues.

"We can fix this, we have to fix this, but we need everyone's help," Harry said.

The duke was joined on the panel by Stanford Internet Observatory Technical research manager Renee DiResta and Aspen Commission on Information Disorder co-chair and Colour Of Change president Rashad Robinson for a talk with Wired editor at large Steven Levy.