'Wrong on every level': Cartoon of Meghan Markle sparks outrage

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

A front page cartoon from French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has faced widespread criticism after it featured the Queen kneeling on the neck of Meghan Markle, parodying the brutal death of George Floyd.

The magazine cover comes days after the broadcast of a damning Oprah interview with Markle and husband Prince Harry in which the couple revealed a concerned senior royal family member questioned what colour the couple's first child Archie would be.

In the cartoon, a speech bubble from Meghan reads: “Because I couldn’t breathe anymore" – a reference to Floyd's final words as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.

The headline accompanying the cartoon reads: "WHY MEGHAN QUIT BUCKINGHAM".

The cartoon depicts Meghan Markle as George Floyd. Source: Charlie Hebdo
The cartoon depicts Meghan Markle as George Floyd. Source: Charlie Hebdo

Queen Elizabeth, depicted in the cartoon with red pupils and pale, white legs, has been ruled out as the family member who made the alleged racist remarks by the couple.

Meghan also revealed she had suicidal thoughts while living as a royal and lacked support from within the British family.

Wave of anger over 'racist' cartoon

The cartoon prompted significant backlash online, with many Twitter users saying the cartoon is Charlie Hebdo's latest "racist" move.

CEO of race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust, Halima Bagum, calling it "wrong on every level".

"The Queen as GeorgeFloyd's murderer crushing Meghan's neck? Meghan saying she's unable to breathe? This doesn't push boundaries, make anyone laugh or challenge racism," she said on Twitter.

"It demeans the issues & causes offence, across the board."

The Independent's race correspondent Nadine White called the cartoon "disgusting".

"Shame on Charlie Hebdo for promoting racism, xenophobia islamophobia and sexism," NBA star Enes Kanter said.

"They make millions while making light of oppression and injustice all for a punchline. This is disgusting. Racism is NOT free speech. ITS HATE SPEECH AND TERRORISM!"

Yet others on social media were angered with the strong condemnation of the publication over its latest cartoon.

The sometimes controversial publication was overwhelmed with support in January 2015 after 12 people were killed when two Muslim brothers stormed the magazine's Paris offices and opened fire following the publication of Prophet Mohammed cartoons.

Buckingham Palace and representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex decline to comment on the cartoon, CNN reported.

Floyd’s death last year sparked global condemnation of racial injustice, resulting in mass Black Lives Matter protests across the United States and the rest of the world.

Minneapolis this week agreed to pay $27m (A$34m) to Floyd’s family to settle a lawsuit over this death.

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