Associated Newspapers, publisher of U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail, has written to ViacomCBS over alleged distortion of newspaper headlines in the bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Variety has confirmed.
In a letter obtained by Variety that was also sent to OWN and ITV, Associated Newspapers wrote to CBS head of litigation Naomi Waltman, saying that as “a responsible broadcaster with integrity” CBS would “deprecate, as we do, the deliberate distortion and doctoring of newspaper headlines in the misleading montage of British newspapers broadcast in ‘Oprah With Meghan and Harry.’”
The letter goes on to add that several of the headlines shown in the interview were “taken out of context or deliberately edited and displayed as supporting evidence for the programme’s claim that the Duchess of Sussex was subjected to racist coverage by the British press.” It added that the editing “was not made apparent to viewers and, as a result, this section of the programme is both seriously inaccurate and misleading.”
“I should be grateful for your urgent confirmation that the offending content will be removed from the programme currently being made available to the public,” the letter states. “We also understand that a further broadcast is being planned tonight. The montage should therefore be deleted prior to that broadcast.”
“This is indefensible,” said a statement from Associated Newspapers. “It was inaccurate and viewers of their programme will have been seriously misled. It lent apparent support to claims that the Duchess of Sussex had been subjected to racist coverage by the British press.”
In a statement to Variety, Winfrey’s Harpo Productions stood by the interview in its entirety.
“Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, shared in the interview their personal story. We stand by the broadcast in its entirety,” a Harpo Productions spokesperson said.
In February, Markle won a court case against the Daily Mail where a U.K. High Court judge ruled that the tabloid had breached her privacy by publishing extracts from a letter she had written to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.