Harry and Meghan plan to freeze out tabloids
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have told the UK’s tabloid press they are ending all co-operation with them.
In a letter to editors of all the Sun, Mirror, Mail and Express titles and websites, a representative said the pair had taken the step due to “distorted, false or invasive” stories.
Harry and Meghan said they refused to “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion”.
The couple have relocated to California after stepping back as senior royals.
In the letter, the couple’s public relations representative wrote it was “gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media” has printed “distorted, false or invasive” articles.
“There is a real human cost to this way of doing business and it affects every corner of society,” the letter said.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know – as well as complete strangers – have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue.”
The BBC was told that the letter had been sent to the editors of the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express newspapers.
The new policy will apply to the four newspapers, their Sunday editions and associated websites, the Guardian’s media editor Jim Waterson reported.
The Daily Star, which was not specifically mentioned, is published by the same group that publishes the Mirror and Express titles.
The ban on engagement with the papers will mean that the couple’s PR team will no longer even answer calls from the papers asking them to confirm whether claims made about the couple are true or not.
‘Not avoiding criticism’
Outlining the new policy of “no corroboration and zero engagement” with all the publications that received it, the letter said the measure would also protect the couple’s communications team “from the side of the industry that readers never see”.
“This policy is not about avoiding criticism,” the letter continued.
“It’s not about shutting down public conversation or censoring accurate reporting. Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can’t be based on a lie.”
The letter said the couple will continue to work with other media and “young, up-and-coming journalists” to raise awareness of the issues and causes they care about.
In recent days, photographs of the Sussexes delivering food to vulnerable people in Los Angeles have been published by two of the newspapers to receive the letter.
And it comes ahead of a court hearing this week in a legal case Meghan has brought against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday over the publication of a letter written to the duchess by her estranged father.
The couple officially stepped back as senior working members of the Royal Family at the end of March as part of a transition following an announcement of their intention to become financially independent in January..