- A British journalist said she did not realize she was being racist by calling Meghan Markle “exotic”.
- Rachel Johnson reflected on her 2016 article on the Duchess in a new BBC documentary.
- He said it would be “canceled” if he used the same language today.
Rachel Johnson, a British journalist who called Meghan Markle’s DNA “exotic” five years ago, said she would not use the same language today because it would be “canceled.”
Johnson is a columnist, author, and sister of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Writing in his 2016 Mail on Sunday column titled “Sorry Harry, your beautiful bolter failed my mom test,” Johnson described Markle as genetically “blessed.” She wrote that the “rich and exotic DNA” of the then actress would thicken the “thin and watery blue blood” of the royal family.
“Miss Markle’s mother is an African-American woman with dreadlocks from the wrong side of the tracks who lives in Los Angeles, and even the bitterest spinster has to admit that the 35-year-old actress is extremely easy on the eyes,” she wrote.
Speaking in the BBC documentary “The Princes and the Press,” which aired in the UK on Monday, Johnson said he did not realize the language he was using was racist at the time.
“I contrasted the ethnic heritage of Meghan Markle with the ethnic heritage of Prince Harry,” Johnson said.
“Of course that was a few years ago, we wouldn’t get anywhere near that now because they would cancel us for making anything about someone’s ethnicity the color of their skin would be completely off limits.”
He added that he would not use the words “exotic DNA” if he wrote the same article today.
“Because now I know, and now they educated me and I educated myself, that ‘exotic’ is a euphemism for black, that you don’t dare to say,” she said.
“I agree that it was a mistake, because however you read it, it sounds eugenic or racist. So let’s forget about it.”
Racism in the British press is something the Duchess has grappled with since it emerged that she was dating Prince Harry in 2016, Insider previously reported.
Harry was the first and only member of the British royal family to publicly acknowledge the racism that Markle faced when he issued an official statement on the matter in November 2016.
“His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been the subject of a wave of abuse and harassment,” a representative for Harry said at the time. “Some of this has been very public: the defamation on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial overtones of the comments; and the blatant sexism and racism of social media trolls and comments on articles on the web.”
Representatives for the Duchess of Sussex and Rachel Johnson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.