The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo draws outrage over a cover cartoon depicting Queen Elizabeth kneeling on Meghan Markle’s neck. The image recalls the death of George Floyd in the US when a police officer knelt on his neck. Markle’s image has a speech bubble that reads, “Because I couldn’t breathe anymore.”
Charlie Hebdo and Oprah with Meghan and Harry
The controversial cartoon comes following the interview between Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In that interview, the couple told Winfrey of apparent racism within the royal family relating to their son, Archie. However, Harry and Meghan did not criticize the Queen and made no mention of the person who allegedly made a racist statement.
Meanwhile, the Duchess also accused palace aides of refusing her permission to leave Kensington Palace on occasion. In fact, she said she only left the palace twice in four months. This led to Markle experiencing severe loneliness and contemplating suicide.
Controversial cover cartoon on French magazine
The latest edition of Charlie Hebdo was published on Saturday and the cartoon is titled “Why Meghan quit.” The cartoon depicts the Queen with her knee on Meghan Markle’s neck. It depicts Meghan saying, “Because I couldn’t breathe anymore.” The cartoon immediately drew comparisons to the death of George Floyd in the US. In that case, a police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, until he died.
Halima Begum, chief executive of the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s race equality think-tank, says the cartoon was “wrong on every level.” She tweeted, “The Queen as George Floyd’s murderer crushing Meghan’s neck?” Begum wrote, “Meghan saying she’s unable to breathe? This doesn’t push boundaries, make anyone laugh or challenge racism. It demeans the issues & offends, across the board.”
— Runnymede Trust (@RunnymedeTrust) March 13, 2021
The Charlie Hebdo cartoon also drew fury from those fond of Queen Elizabeth. The cartoon depicts her in a very derogatory light, red-eyed, grinning and with hairy legs.
Meanwhile, looking at the allegations of racism in the controversial interview with Oprah, Prince William this week defended the royal family. He told reporters that they are “We’re very much not a racist family.”
Charlie Hebdo attacked in 2015
This isn’t the first time that a cartoon published by Charlie Hebdo has caused outrage. In 2015, the magazine published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. This led to the death of 11 people, including the publication’s top editor and several of its cartoonists.
The staff members were killed as brothers, Said and Chérif Kouachi, stormed the magazine’s Paris office. Two days after the attack, a friend of the Kouachi brothers, Amédy Coulibaly, took people hostage, killing four more people at a kosher supermarket in Paris. Despite the bloodthirsty attack, Charlie Hebdo reportedly republished those cartoons last year.
As noted by The Guardian, Secularism is enshrined in France’s constitution. The satirical magazine is seen as an important symbol in a country that is not bound by religious rules. However, while free speech is allowed in France, others view Charlie Hebdo’s publication as provocative. They feel it is unfair to the issues faced by oppressed groups.
Oprah with Meghan and Harry is available for viewing on CBS.com.