Sunday, 28 June 2020

The Sussexes Support Stop Hate for Profit & Reach Out to Althea Bernstein

We knew the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were spending time meeting community leaders and those representing a variety of organisations in order to determine how best they can lend their support to Black Lives Matter. Over the course of the weekend, it was revealed the couple are backing the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. The initiative is asking companies to stand in solidarity and not advertise on Facebook's services in July. Almost one hundred advertisers have joined the cause in an effort to send a clear message: the social media platform is simply not doing nearly enough to combat misinformation and hatefulness.

More from Omid Scobie's piece for Harper's Bazaar:

'A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirms to that Harry and Meghan are backing the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, which is calling for a global boycott of Facebook advertising over the company’s repeated failure to address hateful and racist content as well as misinformation on the platform. The Sussexes are throwing their weight behind the movement and have been working to encourage CEOs to stand in solidarity with the coalition of U.S. civil rights groups behind it.
“As we've been developing Archewell, one of the areas The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been keen to address is online hate speech, and we've been working with civil rights and racial justice groups on it,” a source close to the couple tells “Over the past few weeks, in particular, this issue has become even more vital and they have been working to encourage global CEOs to stand in solidarity with a coalition of civil and racial justice groups like the NAACP, Color of Change, and the Anti-Defamation League, which are calling for structural changes to our online world.”

It's been revealed this has been a key area of focus for Harry and Meghan for some time, and was part of the reason for their visit to Standford University. NAACP welcomed the couple's participation, sharing the following statement on their social media accounts: "We are grateful for the leadership of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in recognizing the importance of solidarity in this moment. Your commitment to truth, justice, and equality are appreciated."

More from Victoria Murphy:

'A source close to Harry and Meghan said that “for a long time, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been working on how to move the tech industry in a more humane direction,” and that they “believe there is an urgent and pressing need to remodel the framework of our online public spaces.”
The source added that they have been “working behind the scenes to urge global CEOs to stand in solidarity with civil rights and racial justice leaders. They’ve spoken with CEOs across the product spectrum; tech and media, consumer goods, food and beverage, apparel, and others.”'

We also got a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes conversations the couple have been having. The president of non-profit, civil rights-advocacy organisation Color of Change, Rashad Robinson said: "I've appreciated the thoughtful conversations I've had with the Duke and Duchess. Even more, I appreciate that they are using their platform to reach out to key corporations and share the goals of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign."

Companies on board include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Starbucks, Diageo, Levi's, Verizon, Honda, Unilever, the Hershey Company and Ben & Jerry's. It's understood Facebook has already lost $7 billion in ad sales. Stop Hate for Profit released the following statement on the campaign:

'On June 17th, we asked companies to act against hate and disinformation being spread by Facebook in our campaign Stop Hate for Profit. We asked advertisers to temporarily pause advertising on Facebook and Instagram in order to force Mark Zuckerberg to address the catastrophic effect that Facebook has had on our society.  
Companies have responded in waves. Unilever, Verizon, Patagonia, Ben and Jerry’s, North Face, Eileen Fisher, Viber and the list goes on and on. These are companies who do not want to associate their brands and their employees with what Facebook has created. And the list is growing every day, every hour, every minute. 
Faced with this tidal wave, Mark Zuckerberg responded today with a small number of small changes.  He stated that Facebook would apply their hate policy to ads as if it was some new revelation, while not addressing hate more broadly in groups and posts.  Voter misinformation may be a bit harder to spread the day of the election (but still will run rampant the rest of the time). And posts that call for violence will still be allowed if they come from someone “newsworthy” but they will now be labeled.  None of this will be vetted or verified - or make a dent in the problem on the largest social media platform on the planet. 
We have been down this road before with Facebook. They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meager steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part. But this has to end now.'

Since the appalling killing of George Floyd, a host of similarly harrowing tragedies have come to the fore. Althea Bernstein's shocking attack is just one of these. The 18-year-old college student and volunteer was brutally set on fire in Wisconsin. CNN reports: "'She looked and saw four men, all white. She says one used a spray bottle to deploy a liquid on her face and neck, and then threw a flaming lighter at her, causing the liquid to ignite,' read the report, which was filed over the phone.
Bernstein then 'patted out the flames, and eventually drove home,' the report said."

Althea's attack was at the forefront of Meghan's mind during her conversations with Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County President and CEO Michael Johnson, and she asked him if he could connect her with Althea. Following a forty-minute conversation between the Duchess and Althea, Prince Harry joined in and also offered his unwavering support. Michael Johnson said Meghan sounded "almost like a seasoned high school counselor. As I heard her, I thought ‘She has to talk to more kids,’ and I’m thankful she agreed to do it".

Channel 3000 reports:

'The three talked on the phone for about 40 minutes Saturday afternoon, Johnson said.
“Her and Meghan talked about the importance of self care and allowing herself to heal. And she applauded her for the way that she responded and pretty much said ‘Hey Michael, give me her cellphone number. I want to stay in touch. And let me know when you want me to come back and talk to people in Wisconsin,'” said Johnson.
He said Bernstein was moved to tears by the conversation, especially after a tough last 24 hours.
“She’s struggling. It’s a challenge for her, it’s very, very emotional. I talked to her three or four times today, and I’ll tell you Meghan lifted her spirits,” said Johnson. He said Meghan also encouraged Bernstein to stay off social media to avoid reading negative comments, and they spoke about faith and formed a connection talking about being bi-racial.'

Meghan told Mr Johnson: "My faith is greater than any fear in my heart. If there is anything you all need from me, I am here for you." Whilst Archewell won't be officially launched until next year, a Sussex source told Omid Scobie: "This is their organization in motion; they are committed to dealing with the here and now, the right now, and the long-term."


  1. that is great to hear they are supporting these organizations against systemic racism in place in north america and across the globe

    i am very sad to hear about the attack on Althea

    just awful my thoughts are with her and hope all these racist hate crimes being brought to light makes everyone call out racism whenever they hear or see it .

    silence is complicity

    1. It is such a terrible attack -- designed to hurt mentally even more than physically.

  2. Becca in Colorado29 June 2020 at 01:48

    Yes to Harry and Meghan making an actual impact! I have to say, I like seeing this side of their work, without the parameters of the royal family. I still think they’re a huge loss to the firm.

    1. Becca, I agree. They are a huge loss, but the restrictions must have been so frustrating for Meghan. It's wonderful that she is free to pursue their causes. It's probably not an issue for those who did not come to the RF as fully formed as Meghan was.

  3. This is what those truly working for change do. And so Archewell begins...or actually continues the work this wonderful couple began from the moment they joined forces. My eyes are filling with joyful, hopeful tears.

  4. I am so pleased to read this report, Charlotte, about the efforts of Meghan and Harry to contribute to positive change in the culture here in the USA. Althea's attack is most shocking; I hadn't heard about it. I was overwhelmed by reading too many reports and was taking a break. I'm so glad that Meghan and Harry were able to help her a little. Hope she heals all right and overcomes the emotional trauma that goes with it.

    I quit Facebook for several months but found that I lost touch with some friends and relatives who were too important to me to give up. I wish there were another way I could keep in touch with certain people without giving support to FB, with its platform policies I don't like.

    Thank you for keeping this space safe, positive, and informative. You do such a great job.

  5. Thank you so much for your wonderful coverage of these two events. I admire Meghan so much. She is smart, genuine, compassionate, creative, courageous and original in her approach. I love watching how she and Harry engage with the world in the fight for justice and equality.


  6. I think this are two very good choices. I am a bit surprised though that they didn't go all the way in and support BLM directly. While many think of it as a slogan that connects the movement, cases and several charities, BLM is indeed it's own charity you can donate to. They were founded in 2013 and are active since then. Picking out one single person is always a bit tricky (even though I think she deserves all the support in the world) because all the victims are worthy of the support and special interest. Nevermind, it is good to see them taking a stance. Challenging facebook is a great decision. The network has operated too long in the grey areas to cherry pick and maximise profit.

    1. C, I am so moved by the efforts Meghan and Harry are making. They are stepping up and making an important difference in the world during a difficult time globally. I personally do not see any reason to criticize how they are going about acting to make beneficial impact in areas that need to be addressed. I'm quite sure they are doing far more behind the scenes on a number of issues. Meghan has already spoke out vociferously in support of Black Lives Matter! Did you somehow miss that? I'm not sure why you you think the couple haven't offered direct support to BLM. M&H are about concrete action, and they are working on a number of fronts, and talking with a number of groups and responsible movers-and-shakers behind-the-scenes. Meghan reaching out to this young victim who endured a horrific attack is about human caring and reaching out immediately to be supportive. It's an act of love by Meghan against hate. Mostly it's about caring on a human, intimate level. It's not about 'picking and choosing' for p.r. purposes. Meghan obviously cares about helping this young victim to heal, and they clearly also connected with each other during their phone conversation. It's unbearable to learn what happened to Althea Bernstein. I'm glad that Althea has someone like Meghan offering her support and encouragement!

    2. not exactly. H&M support BLM more Than ever.
      Everything There do ,are not shout from the rooftops
      Let's turst in them.

  7. l like the way harry and Meghan provide solutions to problems by addressing it specifically and not generalizing

    1. I agree. This is a challenging time, during which M&H have been reaching out in meaningful, substantive, and responsible ways. They do their homework. They roll up their sleeves and join in, putting money and work ethic at the forefront, along with their words of support.

  8. Glad to see that the Sussexes are now free to pursue their passions as they see fit. I believe that there is much more to come and I look forward to it. Thanks for the post Charlotte - terrific as always.

  9. I absolutely love this!!! ♥️♥️

  10. Amen, amen, amen to Anonymous 17:32, 17:39 and CrissieP! Bravo! No need to repeat what you have said so succinctly.

    First, though I'm not tech savvy enough to say why with good reason, from the beginning in spite of others who lauded its merits over its flaws, my instincts led me to avoid Facebook. I have never been active on it. Over the years the arguments and cautions against it have only confirmed my instincts.

    Second, Meghan and Harry would not have been able to work at this level or personal engagement within the confines or the Royal Family's non-political position. Venturing into a new no man's land as they have done takes so much courage and (as all decisions do) always comes with a price. I admire them and their approach in ways that I have no ability to express. It's beyond my words.

  11. To Philly
    I agree with you completely. With every action M&H take to make this world a better place, it becomes ever more obvious that they had to leave the royal family.
    I have been horrified by fb because zuckerberg has allowed it to be used as a platform for suicide and murder. I have been grateful to read about big companies pausing their funding to fb. I hope they just don’t go back to advertising on that platform.

    1. Sadly, as long as normal people use it in that capacity there will always be enough money coming from advertising. From what I gathered it looks bad pr wise but won't hit them hard on the money front. But if WE stop using it (together with WhatsAPP und Instagram) then there would be true change. But you don't hear that masses of people delete their accounts (and there are other platforms we could use). The accusations aren't new anyway. That has been going on for years and has been on the news for years. Everyone still having an account with them are supprting their agenda and should ask their own consciousness. If you are still fine using it you cannot criticise companies advertising there.

  12. I am so happy to read about Meghan and Harry's heartfelt action and I agree with most of the other other comments, so nothing else to add from me!

  13. Meghan wins award of Vogue

  14. Thank you for this report, Charlotte. Very much enjoyed the beautifully articulated and insightful observations and responses to Meghan’s and Harry’s work. It is good to see this couple exercise their heart and humanity as they work to make a real difference. I think it is becoming clearer how they want to work and the issues in which they want to be involved. I think that they would have been constrained within the royal system, and leaving it was indeed gaining the freedom to work.

  15. I agree that they will find it easier to help worthy groups in the Los Angeles community in a hands on way, although it will be more difficult with the current surge in covid19. They should certainly be applauded for stepping out and following their convictions. However I doubt that they will ever be treated as co workers on an equal footing with the other volunteers so long as they hang onto their remaining titles and their security is always on the spot with them.
    I was interested that Harry has made an online address to the Diana Award recipients. As he and William are co-chairs of this group, they must have been in contact to decide on who would be speaking. This is a positive sign which shows they may not be as estranged as the news media is portraying. I must admit that I live in hope they will be able to return to UK from time to time. The Queen is increasingly showing signs of stepping back and others like the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra are visibly more fragile. Anne is soldiering on at 69 and Andrew is on the outer, so the rest of the senior Royal Family is having to front up for Royal duties in this difficult time for ruling families. It is such a pity that Harry and Meghan are out of reach in Los Angeles and unable to fully participate. They would have provided a burst of energy at this crucial time.


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