Harry and Meghan cook up a new 'victim' narrative

It's the oldest trick in the pulp fiction writer's playbook:

Make the reader feel sorry for the poor schmuck you've cast as protagonist.

Which bring us to Meghan and Harry, who are nothing if not practiced in the related art of public relations:

According to Sister Toldjah at RedState:

I try to pay as little attention as possible to the trials and tribulations of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but it has been impossible to ignore the story that broke Wednesday on what they alleged was a “near-catastrophic car chase” their spokesman says occurred Tuesday night after attending an awards ceremony in New York City, where Markle was given the Gloria Steinem-inspired “Ms. Foundation’s Women of Vision” award by Steinem herself.

“Last night, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms. [Doria] Ragland [Markle’s mother] were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi. This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” the statement read.

“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety. Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in [sic] involved.”

Poor Meghan. Even poorer Harry, who remains all so traumatized by the death of his mother, "People's Princess" Diana, in a Paris tunnel after a high speed chase, supposedly fleeing the papparazzi in 1997. In Harry's Apple TV docu-series, he said that incident led him to drink and do drugs and go out with Meghan.

Stand by for a relapse.

There's just one problem though with this neat narrative of good Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan and bad papparazzi constantly following them around to perdition.

It's called 'facts.'

New York's cops say the Sussex's account doesn't match with facts they knew:

According to RedState, citing ABC News:

Police sources described to ABC News a different version of events from the one described by Harry and Meghan’s spokesperson.

Two New York Police Department detectives were present at the Ziegfeld when Harry and Meghan emerged from the event and drove alongside the couple’s private vehicle to get them home.

Along the way, police sources said photographers on bicycles are visible on security cameras but not the kind of caravan described by sources close to Harry and Meghan.

The police interaction with the couple lasted no more than 20 minutes, according to police sources. If the episode lasted the two hours Meghan and Harry say it did, it was due to their own security wanting to avoid revealing where they were staying, not because they were being chased, the sources said.

According to the NYPD’s official statement, they “assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.”

The papparazzi apparently protested it wasn't true, as well -- in the RedState account here.

Which pretty well puts the Sussexes in Jussie Smollett territory, as Sister Toldjah observes, making themselves fake victims in an incident that never happened, in order to restart their careers on a wave of public sympathy.

The Daily Mail explained what Meghan and Harry were really up to this way:

On the surface [Meghan Markle] was in town to receive a Women Of Vision award at a gala to mark the 50th anniversary of the Ms. Foundation For Women — the organisation set up by veteran feminist Gloria Steinem. But this was no ordinary celebrity back-slapping affair; rather it was a waymark on what increasingly looks like an attempt to relaunch — and quite possibly save — the Sussex brand.

In the U.S., polls and commentators have been saying for months that even Americans — with their huge appetite for soap opera and instinctive sympathy for a supposedly wronged compatriot — were tiring of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's endless bleating about so-called royal injustice and their alleged mistreatment in Britain.

It is uncharted territory for a couple who were lionised by the American media as their royals in exile, celebrated for their authenticity and apparent liberation from the rigid formality of the House of Windsor.

In January, a poll for Newsweek — one of their principal cheerleaders — revealed that in just a month, Prince Harry's popularity had plunged 45 points in U.S. public opinion, while Meghan's had tumbled 36 points.

The poll had been conducted just before the publication of Harry's memoir Spare but after the release of a Netflix documentary series which gave the couple's side of Megxit.

Nearly half of Americans, 44 per cent, said the Prince was wrong to include details of private family conversations in his book, while only 26 per cent said he was right to do so. These are numbers which cannot be ignored.

Well, those are pretty high barriers for anyone ever hoping to regain respect from their now-lost audience. What better then than to make them victims?

Again. They've been playing the victim card for a long time, and well, they aren't exactly loved for it, though it seems to sell Harry's tell-all books about life in the British royal family.

They even had a buddy shill for them for Newsweek, (and not for the first time) just in case nobody caught the 'narrative':

Christopher Bouzy, the founder of data analysis firm Bot Sentinel and social network Spoutible, came out in support of the couple's account of a "near catastrophic" chase after the NYPD appeared to downplay its severity.

He also called for reform in how the media treats public figures more widely, citing the echoes of the death of Princess Diana in a 1997 Paris car crash while fleeing paparazzi.

"I strongly condemn the reckless behavior of the paparazzi who chased Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in New York City," Bouzy told Newsweek. "This dangerous incident not only put the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at risk but also endangered countless innocent bystanders and drivers in the vicinity.

"The incident echoes the tragic circumstances of Princess Diana's death, where the persistent pursuit by paparazzi contributed to her fatal car accident," he said. "This parallel is a poignant reminder of the potential deadly consequences of such reckless behavior, and reinforces the need for a change in the way media interacts with public figures."

Ah yes: Tragedy. Victims. Reform. A new cause! The narrative is all planned out pretty well.

Beyond the whole story apparently never even happening, here's what's most disgusting about this whole claimed encounter:

Harry and Meghan are now private citizens. They attracted papparazzi through their publicity machines, tell-all books, photo spreads, Instagrams, and interviews and can't have it both ways, complaining about how they just appeared. Their hunt for fame and celebrity was a lightbulb to moths and sure enough, they drew them.

What's more they don't get to speed away from papparazzi at hellfire speeds no matter how annoying the papparazzi are. Based on their self-chosen jobs, the papparazzi can snap away, New York streets are not their private roads and they don't have special capacities to limit the First Amendment, which they have repeatedly expressed their problems with. They picked that job that attracts papparazzi, not the rest of us, and certainly not the people they share the road with in New York City, and got what comes of it. 

What the heck were they driving away from anyway that they didn't want the papparazzi to see, a trip to the Epstein mansion? The cops should have given them a speeding ticket for reckless driving.

As for the parallels to Diana's death, yes, that was a sad story, but what the heck was the speeding about? The post-mortem reports had it that the driver, Henri Paul, was drunk and shouldn't have been at the wheel at all given his impaired driving, which combined with papparazzi chasings, led to a lethal outcome.

Was Harry and Meghan's cab driver drunk, too? Who was pressuring him to drive too fast?

Meanwhile, Diana herself unwittingly contributed to her own death by failing to wear her seatbelt the way most of us do. Investigators into the crash reported that she would have had an 80% chance of surviving her drunk-driving wreck had she just buckled up.

Can we have an update on whether Harry and Meghan had their seat belts fastened?

It's details like these that make the whole stunt so distasteful. Who are these clowns who, having run out sympathy from the public, to try to exploit Harry's mother's death for their own money-purposes? Why should anyone believe their story when the cops won't back it up? 

It looks like a bid to draw sympathy since nothing else about these grifters is sympathetic. Spare us the glurge.

Image: Matt Brown, via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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