Meghan Markle On 'Almost Unsurvivable' Online Hate She Got While On Maternity Leave
Meghan Markle in March 2019 when she was pregnant with her son Archie. (Photo: Max Mumby / Indigo via Getty Images)
Meghan Markle spoke about what it was like to be the "Most Trolled Person of 2019" after facing an "almost insurmountable" hatred that year.
"I was told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the whole world - male or female," said the Duchess of Sussex in a joint interview with her husband, Prince Harry, of an episode of "teenage therapy". The podcast was released on Saturday for World Mental Health Day.
"Eight months of that I wasn't even visible. I was on maternity leave with a baby," she said. "But what could be made and produced - it's almost impossible to survive."
"It's so big that you can't even imagine what it feels like," added the king. "Because I don't care if you are 15 or 25 when people say things about you that are not true, what it means to your mental and emotional health is so damaging."
Meghan said part of the reason she and Harry are focusing on fighting online negativity and the spread of disinformation is to be open about that experience with people and help others understand the harm it is doing Online connection - and disconnection - can cause.
"Although our experience is unique to us and can obviously be very different from what people experience in everyday life, it is still a human experience - and that is universal," she said.
"We all know what it feels like when our feelings are hurt, we all know what it feels like to be isolated or different," Meghan praised the hosts of the "teenage therapy" - five self-described "stressed, sleep deprived" "energetic students at Loara High School in Anaheim, California - for their work helping others feel less alone.
Harry and Meghan are focused on stopping online hatred. (Photo: VICTORIA JONES via Getty Images)
Harry and Meghan recorded the podcast with three of their presenters - Gael Aitor, Kayla Suarez, and Thomas Pham - in a socially distant location in the couple's new community in Montecito, California, and wore masks the entire time.
The group also talked about what they are doing for self-sufficiency to remove the mental health stigma (something Harry has long advocated in his work as King as well) and how to prioritize mental health.
Since stepping down from the royal family earlier this year, both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made it a priority to talk about the damage online habits, hatred and misinformation can cause.
Meghan has been the subject of racist and misogynistic coverage for years and has been the victim of "hundreds of thousands of inaccurate articles," the Duchess' attorneys said in court documents filed in July.
Harry has repeatedly spoken out against the online hatred of his wife in 2016 when he confirmed in a statement against tabloids and trolls that he was dating former actor "Suits".
During an appearance at Fortune's Most Powerful Women summit in September, the Duchess spoke of the "one clear, tangible thing" that people can do to stop misinformation.
"It really just means not contributing to misinformation or even clicking on it," Meghan said. “And if you know something is wrong, report it, talk about it, and make sure the facts are known. I think that's a clear tangible thing that anyone could do. "
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have busy schedules for the coming days. On Sunday they host a live video chat with activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai on International Girls' Day.
On Tuesday, Meghan will appear for the second time at the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit to talk about the hunt for "their beliefs with action".
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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