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Hold On, Did Fox News Try To Use COLONIALISM as Proof That the British Monarchy Isn’t Racist?

Fox News plays a clip of Meghan Markle speaking to Oprah with a Chyron reading "Fallout over Harry & Meghan's interview"

Following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah this weekend, one of the most bizarre reactions has come from the American conservative media, which has apparently decided it’s necessary for them to come out publicly in defense of the British monarchy. These people will do anything to avoid siding with a Black woman, to the point that they—the ones constantly yelling “don’t tread on me” American exceptionalist patriotic bumper sticker slogans—feel the need to defend the crown against accusations of racism.

This week, bargain-basement conservatives including Charlie Kirk, Ben Shapiro, and Tomi Lahren have all come out in support of the monarchy.

Kirk straight-up said “I think she’s making it up,” comparing Markle’s accusations of racism to Jussie Smollett. “I think somebody said something, completely different, in a different category, and she is using it now to go make people feel sorry for her.”

Ben Shapiro issued sympathy for Prince Philip, arguing that no one who fought Nazis or helped “preside over the UK during the Cold War” (???) could be racist.

Tomi Lahren suggested that no one who had money and was married to a prince should complain about anything, including racism, calling Markle “incredibly ungrateful.”

But hands down, the worst and weirdest defense of the monarchy came from Fox & Friends‘ Brian Kilmeade, who argued that the royals couldn’t be racist, because the British Commonwealth is so diverse. No, really.

One of the biggest bombshells Markle dropped in her interview with Oprah was that her husband had “conversations” with members of his famly who expressed “concerns” over how dark their future children’s skin might be.

Kilmeade, though, makes it clear he doesn’t believe that Markle experienced the kinds of racism from the Royal Family and the British media that she so clearly laid out in the interview. And he seems to be offering as proof of that, the fact that the British Commonwealth “is like 75% Black or minority.”

To be fair, it’s a little hard to tell if that’s what Kilmeade is saying, since he never really finishes a complete sentence and also because he shoehorns this claim into a conversation co-host Ainsley Earhardt was having about Prince Harry’s personal experience with his family’s estrangement.

To be more fair, if that’s not what he’s saying, it still doesn’t make any sense.

Here’s the full, rambling quote. See if you can make sense of it:

“Here’s the problem, it’s not just about them. Their provinces and where the United Kingdom, uh, reigns or–Commonwealth,” Kilmeade said, taking Earhadt’s suggestion, “is like 75% Black or minority, and they’re saying ‘I told you the Queen and the Royal Family are racist and that’s proof of it.’ And I’m watching a lot of the BBC and a lot of the coverage and they’re using that, this allegation that Harry says ‘I’ll never talk about but I’ll have my wife throw it out there, I’ll confirm it happened but I will not say who said it—except that it wasn’t my grandfather or grandmother. The ripple effects are more than just a family.”

So yes, it’s a bit hard to tell what he’s saying and who he’s referring to with all those theys and thems. I’m not sure if he even really knows himself—it sure doesn’t sound like it—but it seems like there are two possibilities, and neither of them is great!

If Kilmeade is saying that the royals can’t be racist because their Commonwealth is so “diverse,” someone should probably tell him that 1) That “Commonwealth” was acquired through colonialism, not friendship, and 2) You can’t call the people they colonized the “minority” when they make up 75% of the population. There’s a different word for that already and it’s apartheid.

The other possibility is that Kilmeade is saying that the people in those Commonwealth countries are holding up Meghan and Harry’s interview as proof that the colonizing monarchy has always been racist. It’s clear from his tone that if that’s the message, he’s mocking it. This is weird because … yes. That is happening—leading voices in those countries, from Australia to Jamaica to Canada to South Africa to India, have been publicly questioning this week what role they think the British monarchy should have in their countries, if any, and they’re specifically pointing to this interview as the reason why this conversation is being had.

I just don’t know why Brian Kilmeade would care so much, or why he and the rest of these conservative media people think that’s so bad. I thought celebrating countries breaking away from British rule was sort of their whole thing. I guess that only applies to countries where the majority of people look like them.

Update 3/12: Even if that’s not what Kilmeade was trying to say with his poorly-worded comments, it was definitely what this guy was saying on Fox News last night:

(via Bobby Lewis on Twitter, Pajiba, image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.