Meghan Markle’s attorney tells controversial BBC doc there are ‘massive inaccuracies’ in bullying allegations

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Meghan Markle’s lawyer has denied allegations that the Duchess of Sussex bullied palace staff before she stepped back as a senior member of the British royal family.

In the second installment of the controversial BBC docuseries “The Princes and The Press,” attorney Jenny Afia said there were “massive inaccuracies” in the allegations published by the U.K. Times in March, the U.K.’s Express reported on Tuesday.

According to the outlet, presenter Amol Rajan asked, “Were there any inaccuracies in that story?”

“Yeah, massive inaccuracies were told in that story,” Afia responded. 

She also stressed that the Duchess of Sussex is “absolutely not” guilty of bullying.

Meghan Markle’s team has strongly denied allegations that the Duchess of Sussex bullied palace staff.
(Photo by NDZ/Star Max/GC Images)

“And I think first thing is to be really clear about what bullying is,” she explained. “What bullying actually means is improperly using power repeatedly and deliberately to hurt someone physically or emotionally. The Duchess of Sussex has absolutely denied ever doing that. That said, she wouldn’t want to negate anyone’s personal experiences.”

“So you did provide The Times with evidence refuting, providing evidence showing it wasn’t the case?” Rajan asked, as quoted by the outlet.

“It’s really hard to prove a negative, because if you haven’t bullied someone, how do you show that?” said Afia. “You have to just deny an allegation? [It’s like saying] ‘I didn’t beat my wife.’ It doesn’t address the underlying… problem.”

Markle’s team has strongly refuted the claims since they were made public by the U.K. Times.

Meghan Markle, an American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married Britain’s Prince Harry in May 2018.
(Photo by Getty       )

“The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma,” a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex previously said in a statement sent to Fox News.

“She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good,” the statement added.

The allegation came days before the couple’s televised sit-down with Oprah Winfrey.

According to The Times, the complaint was first made in October 2018 by Jason Knauf, the couple’s former communications secretary. The complaint alleged that the former American actress drove two personal assistants out of the household and undermined the confidence of a third staff member.

In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were stepping back as senior members of the British royal family.

The outlet reported that Knauf submitted the complaint in an effort to protect palace staffers who alleged they were being bullied by Markle, 40. Some claimed they were even reduced to tears.

A source alleged that Harry, 37, pleaded with Knauf not to pursue the complaint. However, attorneys for the couple deny that the meeting took place or that Harry interfered with any staff matters.

The outlet said Knauf allegedly sent an email to Simon Case, who served as Prince William’s private secretary at the time. The email was then forwarded to Samantha Carruthers, head of human resources. In the email, Knauf claimed Carruthers “agreed with me on all counts that the situation was very serious,” adding, “I remain concerned that nothing will be done.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departures from royal duties began in 2020 over what they described as the British media’s intrusions and racist attitudes towards the former ‘Suits’ star. 

A spokesperson for the Sussexes fired back at the allegations reported by The Times.

“Let’s just call this what it is – a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation,” the spokesperson told the outlet.

“We are disappointed to see this defamatory portrayal of The Duchess of Sussex given credibility by a media outlet,” the spokesperson continued. “It’s no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining The Duchess are being briefed to the British media shortly before she and The Duke are due to speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years.”

Last week, the British royal family put on a united front and issued a rare joint statement condemning the BBC for publicizing “overblown and unfounded claims” in “The Princes and The Press.”

In an apparent snub to the BBC’s Kate Middleton’s holiday special will now be airing on rival network ITV in December.
(Photo by Jonathan Brady – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The docuseries focuses on the relationship between the royal brothers and the media. The first episode featured journalists and commentators who described how information was obtained, whether by leaks, “dishonest practices” or unofficial briefings between royal sources and reporters. The special also focused on the brothers’ different approaches when it came to handling media scrutiny.

The goal of the documentary, according to the network, was to explore whether negative stories about the royals were based on information from people connected to other royal households.

The end of the program featured a statement given to the BBC by Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace concerning the allegations. They represent the households of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and William.

“A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy,” the statement read, as quoted by ITV. “However, too often it is overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources that are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility.”

The royal households have spoken out against the documentary that focuses on the relationship between the royal brothers and the media.

In response, the BBC said the program is “about how royal journalism is done and features a range of journalists from broadcast and the newspaper industry.”

“… The film also showed the extent of the threat to privacy from a press hungry for stories about the younger royals,” they continued. “This included claims by private investigator Gavin Burrows, who said he now regretted his involvement in chasing newspaper stories about Prince Harry and his ex-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy.”

They noted that Burrow’s claims “are yet to be tested in court and are strongly disputed.”

Reps for the royal households didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex reside in California with their two children.
(Photo by Chris Jackson – Pool/Getty Images)

In the first episode, Afia responded to reports about the Duchess of Sussex’s alleged bullying of palace staff.

“Those stories were false,” she said, as quoted by ITV. “This narrative that no one can work for the Duchess of Sussex, she was too difficult and demanding as a boss and everyone had to leave, it’s just not true.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departures from royal duties began in 2020 over what they described as the British media’s intrusions and racist attitudes towards the former “Suits” star. The family now resides in the coastal city of Montecito, California with their two children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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