Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s broadside against a “ring of highly aggressive paparazzi” shows they “whine whine whine,” Caitlyn Jenner has said.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a dramatic statement on May 17 calling out photographers who the night before had engaged in a “near catastrophic car chase” which “resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers.”
The wording suggested the possibility of a car accident similar to the one that killed Princess Diana in Paris, in 1997.
However, the NYPD and the mayor of New York played down the Sussexes’ version of events, sparking an online debate about whether the couple’s choice of language had exaggerated the seriousness of the incident.
Jenner said she had been followed by photographers in New York and Los Angeles and felt it “comes with the territory” in a tweet viewed more than 470,000 times and liked 7,400 times.
“I have been party to paps following me in NY (definitely not 2 hrs and plenty of evidence—kind of the point since they have cameras), LA (even in a city with lots of driving and long distances between destinations, not 2 hours, and AGAIN LOTS OF EVIDENCE) it comes with the territory.
“Whine whine whine is all these 2 seem to do,” The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star wrote.
A statement from the Sussex team on May 17 read: “Last night the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and [Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland] were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers. While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety.”
However, they lost control of the narrative within hours when the NYPD presented a toned-down description of events: “There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said: “I would find it hard to believe that there was a two-hour, high speed-chase.” Though he added: “If it’s 10 minutes, a 10-minute chase is extremely dangerous in New York City.”
Jenner’s comment came in reply to a post by Megyn Kelly, a regular critic of the couple, which was viewed more than 5 million times liked more than 37,000 times.
Kelly wrote: “I lived in Manhattan for 17 yrs & it is not possible to have a 2hr ‘car chase’ there.
“Too many street lights/stop signs, too much foot/car traffic & hundreds of places you could safely pull over to protect yourself.”
There was, however, no dispute about the fact the photographers were following Harry, Meghan and Ragland after they left the Ziegfeld Ballroom, in New York, at around 10pm.
Picture agency Backgrid released a statement defending the actions of photographers on the basis they apparently wanted to know if Harry and Meghan were going on to a dinner after the gala.
That may be an unfamiliar experience for Harry, having come from Britain where there are far more powers available to celebrities to fight back against alleged harassment by photographers.
Unlike the U.S. press, Britain’s newspapers are regulated by an organization called IPSO. Code-of-conduct rules say: “Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.
“They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.
“Editors must ensure these principles are observed by those working for them and take care not to use non-compliant material from other sources.”
Journalists working for British newspapers are supposed to keep a copy of the IPSO code of conduct on them at all times.
Harry and Meghan appear intent on pursuing criminal prosecution after Newsweek was told the prince will hand over his own images and footage of the paparazzi shot on his mobile phone to the NYPD.
However, it is yet to be seen whether any action will follow.
Jack Royston is chief royal correspondent for Newsweek, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek’s The Royals Facebook page.
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