When Gossip Goes Beyond Entertainment
An online war surrounding the Sussexes has revealed the ugliness of gossip blogs who help facilitate an obsession over celebrities.
Pretty much any celebrity who’s been in the spotlight long enough has had their share of people obsessing over them which can lead to misconceptions of them at best and dangerous encounters at worst.
In between those layers lies gossip. It becomes a part of their every day life and, unlike the old days where certain TV channels and the papers could be easily ignored — social media has made it nearly impossible.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are no different.
They’ve had vocal critics regarding every move they’ve made since the beginning. Everything was put through the ringer including their wedding, leaving the royal family, moving to California, and not yet delivering on a podcast deal with Spotify.
Racism has also, unfortunately, been directed at Meghan.
Social media can be a depressing place. We leave it up to gossip blogs to draw the line between rumors and speculation about celebrities for entertainment value.
Celebrities are still human at the end of they day most importantly. And secondly, the 1st Amendment does have its limits.
For example, Tasha K, a blogger and prominent vocal critic of American rapper Cardi B, recently lost a defamation suit against the rapper. She knowingly made false allegations against Cardi B which she admitted in court. And those admissions of guilt came with a hefty price tag.
The critcics of the Sussexes have been feeling the heat too. Piers Morgan, learned the hard way last year after berating the pair on television. He was subsequently kicked off of Good Morning Britain after a formal complaint.
While not related to gossip, Meghan Markle did win a legal battle over a U.K. tabloid regarding the leak of an excerpt of a private letter she had written to her estranged father in 2018.
So blogs who’ve found their bread and butter defaming her could potentially be facing legal woes if a key player can put everything together.
The Alleged Anti-Meghan Markle Hate Group
It’s unclear exactly when internet sleuths began looking into the hate accounts behind Meghan and Harry, but things certainly escalated last year.
At the helm of uncovering this group is Christopher Bouzy. He developed Bot Sentinel, a program designed to detect inauthentic profiles on social media platforms based on algorithm he coded.
By the end of last year, Bouzy had targeted several accounts across several social media platforms: Murky Meg, MeghansMole, According2Taz, and Yankee Wally. These accounts and two dozen other channels created a lucrative $3.5 million dollar business through ad revenue.
The women behind these accounts release videos that are almost exclusively about the the Sussexes.
They speculate just about everything including Meghan’s attitude during events, possible jealousy towards Kate Middleton, their travel arrangements, her facial expressions, etc.
Pretty much any sliver of content which surrounds Harry and Meghan ends up on their channels. Their viewers and fans are very aggressive towards any sort of criticism.
At the end of last year, Bouzy released a report which detailed how Twitter accounts like MeghansMole and others served as the primary hate accounts which composed of 58 accounts. 28 other accounts were listed as secondary hate accounts.
Yankee Wally and According2Taz’s Twitter accounts aren’t listed in the primary or secondary hate accounts, but they were definitely cranking out enough YouTube videos to be lumped in with the full totality of the hate aimed at Meghan and Harry.
Interactions between Bouzy and According2Taz and MeghansMole are presently on Twitter, but it’s unclear how they came to interact with each other to begin with. According to According2Taz, she said Bouzy came out the blue late last year with these accusations.
But what is the theory about the collective hate group?
Essentially, they are accounts loosely working together in order to drive up viewership, engagement, comments, clicks, likes, shares, reposts, and subscribers. Most importantly of all is the ad revenue. The more the main players upload content, share, and manipulate the algorithms on social media platforms — the more ad revenue is given. The average viewers may not be in the thousands as the views suggests since some views and clicks were alleged to been purchased.
Bouzy has since come under fire from the Meghan and Harry hate community. They’ve tried to piece together a conspiracy that he abused his daughter when she was younger. But Bouzy has refuted those claims.
Aside from that, questions remains about now Twitter and YouTube will handle this situation. The latter’s terms of service would most have definitely been violated if accounts are indeed gaming the system for financial game.
As for prosecution: gossip, hate speech, and rumors are all protected under the 1st Amendment. Suing someone for defamation partly relies on the plaintiff to prove the person(s) knowingly published lies about them.
To most egregious accusation Meghan haters have made is claiming that Bouzy starved his daughter when she was younger.
This accusation was made by Yankee Wally in a YouTube video, however, the claims were not verified as the video is just screenshots of alleged posts from Bouzy’s daughter.
Free speech is often thrown around, but it’s important for people to remember that it extends to the government not prosecuting you for what you believe in or what you have to say on universally anything.
Private companies can impose their will on what you can and can’t say on their platforms.
Defaming people or a business based on lies is also a good way to be sued, which again, the 1st Amendment cannot protect your from under certain circumstances.
That’s why some things are best left unsaid.
Bouzy has stated he’d be taking legal action though he didn’t specify what that legal action could be.
Meghan and Harry would have to be notified of the situation and they’d have to contemplate legal recourse for defamation which could be an uphill battle depending on jurisdiction since people involved are in the U.K. and the U.S.