The BBC has issued an apology to Prince Harry for failing to warn the royal over a segment it aired in 2018 that included a disturbing image of neo-Nazi propaganda depicting the Duke of Sussex.
The violent image showed the prince with a gun to his head, a blood splatter and a swastika, according to The Guardian, and included the words, “See ya later race traitor.” The message was aimed at the prince’s marriage to Meghan Markle.
After the image ran on the “News at Ten” and BBC Online, the duke filed a complaint with the BBC and Ofcom, a broadcasting watchdog group in the United Kingdom. The two organizations declared that running the image was in the interest of the public, but the BBC did issue a letter of apology for failing to warn the prince about what would be shown in the segment.
“This was an important piece of journalism which led to the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of two members of a neo-Nazi group,” a BBC source familiar with the outlet’s decision-making told HuffPost on Thursday.
“The image of The Duke of Sussex was included to show the abhorrent nature of their behaviour and OFCOM has subsequently concluded that there was a clear editorial rationale for using the image which, in the context of the news report, was considered unlikely to incite crime,” the source said via email.
“Naturally we regret the distress caused and we apologised for failing to warn Kensington Palace in advance that it was to be published,” the source added.
While a spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex said that he welcomed the letter from the BBC, the royal still didn’t feel that the image was needed for the on-air segment as it “caused his family great distress specifically while his wife was nearly five months pregnant.”
“His Royal Highness raised the issue with Ofcom about the rebroadcasting of this racist image due to his concerns that hateful and dangerous propaganda had been spread globally by the world’s most important public service broadcaster,” the royal’s spokesperson said in a statement to The Guardian in an article published Wednesday.
“Due to the credibility of the BBC, their choice to publicise this material created an open door for all other media to reproduce it.”
Harry and Meghan have repeatedly dealt with racist trolls, media commentary and news segments throughout their entire relationship. Recently, the duchess was the subject of a sexist and racist hit piece produced by “60 Minutes Australia” that purported to investigate why “Meghan Markle lost her sparkle.”
A tweet about the segment sparked immediately backlash online.
“From adored to insufferable in less than a year. What went wrong for Meghan, and how it affects hubby Harry. ... Inside a Royal crisis,” the tweet read, “Can the ghost of Princess Diana save a fairytale?”
Many slammed the segment for also including far-right bigot and self-proclaimed “Biggest Bitch in Britain” commentator Katie Hopkins.
“60 mins Australia interviewed Katie Hopkins, a woman who is unquestionably racist and xenophobic, for this ‘story’ about the first black member of the Royal Family,” HuffPost and New York Magazine contributor Yashar Ali tweeted at the time. “Members of the Royal Family are not above criticism, but this racist hit piece is an absolute disgrace.”