French magazine mocks George Floyd's killing in US and Meghan Markle's racism concerns in UK both, in a cartoon that has been called "outrageous" and "racist."
Controversial French magazine Charlie Hebdo has published a cartoon on its front page depicting Britain's Queen Elizabeth II kneeling on Meghan Markle's neck, sparking harsh criticism on social media where users slammed it for being racist and mocking George Floyd's death.
The notorious magazine captioned its Saturday's cover, "Why Meghan left Buckingham", to which Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry, who was lying on the ground replying, "Because I couldn't breathe anymore."
“#CharlieHebdo, this is wrong on every level. The Queen as #GeorgeFloyd's murderer crushing Meghan's neck? #Meghan saying she's unable to breathe?" Halime Begum, CEO of Runnymede Trust, a UK-based racial equality think tank, posted on Twitter.
"This doesn't push boundaries, make anyone laugh or challenge #racism. It demeans the issues & causes offence across the board."
"Charlie Hebdo was extremely rude about the Prophet Mohammed and many on the right in the UK applauded. Now, Charlie Hebdo is extremely rude about the Queen. What will the same people on the right in the UK say now, I wonder?" wrote one user.
French magazine Charlie Hebdo mocks George Floyd's murder and Meghan's racism concerns. The cover reads: 'Why Meghan left Buckingham Palace', 'Because I couldn't breathe'. pic.twitter.com/3Fuj789xn7— Nadine White (@Nadine_Writes) March 13, 2021
Using trauma for profit
The coverage follows a television interview where Markle accused members of the British royal family of racism.
In a historic all-tell interview Markle, who has a Black mother and a white father, had said last week the British press drove her to the point where life no longer seemed worth living.
"I knew that if I didn't say it, that I would do it. And I... just didn't want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought," she told Oprah Winfrey.
Floyd, who was Black, died on May 25 after a police officer, who is white, pressed his knee on Floyd's neck while he was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn't breathe.
In the wake of his death, civil unrest spiralled into violence locally.
Protests spread worldwide and forced a painful reckoning on racial justice in the US.
Charlie Hebdo has been accused of exploiting Merkel's and Floyd's trauma for profit.
The racism I saw living in France on my year abroad was a WHOLE new level so I’m rarely shocked by Charlie Hebdo anymore. But to make light of George Floyd’s murder like this is absolutely disgusting and can’t be ignored. I feel sick. https://t.co/yXZZ6LCnyz— Mim Walker-Khan (@mimwalkerkhan) March 13, 2021
It's often forgotten because of the tragedy associated with it, but Charlie Hebdo is a horrific magazine that confuses shocking poor taste for humour.— Paddy Duffy (@PaddyDuffy) March 13, 2021
The Black and Asian Lawyers For Justice said that the cover was "outrageous, disgusting, fascistic racism," and accused the magazine of using Floyd's trauma for profit.
"Words cannot describe just how disgusting I found that Charlie Hebdo cover," another user said. "Punching down and constantly drawing racist caricatures it's not satire."
"If you have to continually explain that your "satire" isn't racist & isn't punching down, then it isn't very good satire," another user said.
Mim Walker-Khan wrote she has faced racism in France and was not surprised by the cartoon.
"But to make light of George Floyd's murder like this is absolutely disgusting and can't be ignored. I feel sick."
Is this the free speech that Charlie Hebdo is so passionate about? Racism, disrespect and offence passed off as satire? I’m sorry but no Je suis for me. This is nothing but racist bigotry and inciting hate. Do better with your platform and grow up. pic.twitter.com/Id6hL53p2G— Yasmeen (@yasminnoir) March 13, 2021
Repeatedly racist and provocative
Charlie Hebdo has been criticised in the past for publishing caricatures insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad, sparking large protests in Muslim-majority countries and calls for boycott of French goods.
The French government often defends the magazine, saying freedom of expression cannot be hindered.
British tabloids react
The Daily Express shared the story with readers: "Disgust as Charlie Hebdo depicts Queen kneeling on Meghan Markle's neck like George Floyd."
The Sun used the headline, "DISGUSTING," for the same story.
"Charlie Hebdo: Fury at cover of Queen knelt on Meghan's neck in George Floyd 'parody'," was the title from The Mirror.