UK press body chief Ian Murray has stepped down as criticism has mounted over his statement issued on behalf of the organisation. His statement was in response to allegations made by Meghan Markle and her husband Harry in an interview that the UK media was racist towards her. In the interview, Meghan who is bi-racial claimed regular racist articles were printed by the UK media when she was a royal.
Murray’s exit was revealed by Oly Duff who is a member of the Society’s 20-strong board. In a short statement on Twitter, Duff wrote. “Ian Murray has resigned as executive director of the Society of Editors. Earlier today the board accepted his resignation.”
Murray’s resignation, which came after a brief statement where he admitted he could have been “clearer in its condemnation of bigotry”, shows the fault-lines that lie within the British media regarding the coverage of the royal family. Such a standoff has not been seen since the death of Princess Diana who died in a car crash in 1997 after being chased by paparazzi. Widespread public anger had then forced the press to modify their behaviour. But with Meghan the standoff between sections of the British press and the royals has resurfaced making things very messy indeed.
Murray’s exit follows that of controversial and high-profile journalist and editor Piers Morgan. Former host of the popular television show ‘Good Morning Britain’, Morgan, who has been a long-time critic of Meghan, resigned after complaints poured in when he stated that he did not believe her contentions. Unlike Murray, Morgan has stuck to his views and his resignation has even sparked reactions – pro and against – in the US media.
It isn’t just the media which is under the spotlight on allegations of racism but the royals too. Ever since the interview, the royal family has been eager to showcase their role in promoting diversity. Prince Charles has pointed to his work with a Black Church organisation on his Instagram account.
It is however Prince William who has made it clear where the royal family stands. “We’re very much not a racist family,” the prince said in the first refutation by the royal family against the claims made by his brother and Meghan. The statement is likely to exacerbate the already tense relations with the royal family and the couple.