Bermuda Post

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021

Royal commentators hoaxed into critique of Meghan interview before seeing it

Elizabeth’s Fake News Alliance: Leading royal commentators including the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter and CNN’s royal commentator Victoria Arbiter have come under fire after they were filmed giving their views about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s performance in their eagerly awaited interview with Oprah Winfrey for an undisclosed fee, days before they had seen it.
Four commentators, including the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter and CNN’s royal commentator Victoria Arbiter, gave interviews to a fake news company created by YouTuber pranksters Josh Pieters and Archie Manners on Friday, two days before the interview was aired.

They had been told it would be shown immediately after the CBS programme was broadcast. In the prank, the commentator and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, Ingrid Seward, said of the Duchess of Sussex, “to my mind this was an actress 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 sympathetic”, and saying that Meghan “used extremely strong language to describe her relations with members of the royal household”.

The YouTubers also duped some of the experts into discussing false topics supposedly covered in the Oprah interview, including Meghan’s support for the Balham donkey sanctuary and refusal to have the coronavirus vaccine.

The pair have become infamous for their high-profile pranks, tricking celebrities including Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards into interviewing for a Borat film, influencers into promoting gravel, and nominating reality TV star Gemma Collins for a Nobel peace prize.

The pair told the Guardian they had “wondered whether people would say things that weren’t necessarily true to purely jump on the buzz of this Harry and Meghan interview, and it turned out that they would”.“To me, it’s like asking a football commentator to give me 90 minutes of voice-noting on [a match they haven’t seen].

It’s such a ludicrous premise,” Manners said, insisting they deliberately duped commentators rather than news correspondents, and did not intend the video as an attack on the press. “These people charge news organisations for their views, and their views do shape public opinion.”

The duo insisted that they weren’t leading the commentators on or “feeding them lines”, simply asking “broad stroke questions that you simply cannot answer if you have not seen the interview”.“We then decided that having done that we would push it a bit further and come up with the silliest things we could imagine, almost to give them a chance,” Manners said. “We did say, ‘in the interview Meghan says she wouldn’t take the vaccine’.

We would hope that a royal expert who would presumably know a lot about Meghan would at that point go, hang on, that seems somewhat unlikely.“It also, I would argue, seems somewhat unlikely that Meghan Markle is going to discuss the Balham donkey sanctuary. We only ever brought up those facts when they were
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