Meghan Markle claimed she pays no mind to public ‘flattery or criticism’ about her during a virtual summit on Tuesday afternoon – while also hitting out at the media for ‘misinterpreting’ remarks she has made in order to make them sound more ‘controversial’ or ‘inflammatory’.
Despite insisting that she does not focus on anything said or written about her, Meghan defended herself against past controversies, alleging that any time ‘anything she has said… ends up being inflammatory’, it only comes a result of ‘people’s interpretation of it’. ‘If you listen to what I actually say, it’s not controversial,’ she added.
The 39-year-old’s comments during the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit came just hours after the Duchess of Sussex lost her latest court battle against the Mail on Sunday to prevent the publication from using an explosive biography written about her private life as evidence in its defense case.
Speaking out: Meghan Markle took part in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit on Tuesday, when she spoke out about ‘creating humane tech’
Discussion: During her conversation with Fortune’s senior editor Ellen McGirt, the 39-year-old quoted artist Georgia O’Keeffe to share her thoughts about focusing on ‘criticism and flattery’
Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers and its publication the Mail on Sunday for publishing in February 2019 extracts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle.
She claimed that it breached her ‘deepest and most private thoughts and feelings,’ and that she had not given permission for the letter to be made public.
The 39-year-old mother-of-one joined the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit to discuss ‘humane tech’ with the publication’s senior editor Ellen McGirt, and during the discussion she spoke out about the ways in which ‘bots and trolls’ are changing how people interact with each other on a day-to-day basis.
Meghan, who was speaking from the $14 million Santa Barbara home she shares with husband Prince Harry and their one-year-old son Archie, called for members of the public to reevaluate and reset the ways in which they interact online – warning that this can have a negative impact on offline interactions.
‘It’s like we live in the future when you’re talking about bots and trolls and all of these things,’ Meghan said during the summit, according to HuffPost.
‘It seems so fantastical, but that’s actually the current state of affairs and that is shaping how we interact with each other online and off — and that’s the piece that’s important.
‘It is not just an isolated experience. It transcends into how you interact with anyone around you and certainly your own relationship with yourself.’
As for her own experiences with both negative and positive interactions as far as the media and social media are concerned, Meghan turned to a quote from O’Keeffe to express her personal feelings about criticism, the Most Powerful Women Twitter account revealed.
‘I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free,’ she quoted – suggesting that she feels comfortable and happy with herself, which has in turn allowed her to ignore both positive and negative opinions that she might read about herself online or in the media.
Meghan noted that the pandemic has provided many people with the opportunity to ‘reset’, describing it as a ‘moment of reckoning’ that has spurred ‘a reevaluation of what really matters’.
For her, she made clear, that is her husband Prince Harry, 36, and their one-year-old son Archie, with the former Suits star explaining that her family has been her main priority throughout this time – during which the Sussexes have moved out of Tyler Perry’s Beverly Hills mansion and into their own California home.
‘For me, it’s been amazing to spend time with my husband and watch our little one grow and that’s where our attention has been,’ she said.
However, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have also knuckled down to work on their new charitable venture, the Archewell foundation, with Meghan explaining that the couple is determined to figuring out how they can ‘be a part of the change of energy that so many people are craving right now’ both online and offline.
‘Part of our focus with the Archewell Foundation is to just ensure that we are helping foster healthy positive communities ― online and off ― for our collective wellbeing,’ she said.
Focus: Meghan said that she has spent much of the pandemic ‘spending time’ with Prince Harry and ‘watching their little one grow’
Experienced: The Duchess of Sussex has taken part in a number of virtual events throughout the pandemic, and even made an appearance on America’s Got Talent earlier this month
As far as creating that positive community, Meghan encouraged viewers of the virtual summit – which was limited to Fortune’s Most Powerful Women members, who pay a whopping $13,500 annual membership fee – to stop the spread of misinformation in the media and online.
She urged people to stop ‘contributing to or even clicking on misinformation’, while insisting that everyone should ‘report’ anything that they see that they believe is wrong to ensure that only ‘the facts are getting out there’.
Meghan referred to her own experiences with ‘misinformation’ being spread about her, insisting that any time ‘anything she has said… ends up being inflammatory’, it has only come a result of ‘people’s interpretation of it’.
‘If you listen to what I actually say, it’s not controversial,’ she added.
Meghan’s session for the virtual summit lasted just 15 minutes and was described online as focusing on ways in which we can ‘build – and rebuild – our digital world’.
‘Our experiences online shape our communities offline,’ the Fortune MPW website detailed. ‘How do we build—and rebuild—our digital world? What’s the true price we pay if we don’t?’
While it is unknown if the Duchess received a fee for her appearance, Meghan and Prince Harry signed up with the Harry Walker Agency earlier this year.
At the time, branding experts revealed they could earn as much as $1million for a speech through HWA, which calls its the ‘World’s #1 Exclusive Speakers’ Agency’.
Earlier this year, Prince Harry said social media was stoking a ‘crisis of hate,’ and urged companies to rethink their roles in advertising on digital platforms.
In an opinion piece for U.S. business magazine Fast Company headlined ‘Social media is dividing us. Together, we can redesign it,’ Harry said that social media, as it currently stands, is ‘unwell’.
The former senior royal said he and his wife, Meghan, have spent the past few weeks working with business leaders and marketing executives on the issue to try and introduce changes.
‘The digital landscape is unwell and companies like yours have the chance to reconsider your role in funding and supporting online platforms that have contributed to, stoked, and created the conditions for a crisis of hate, a crisis of health, and a crisis of truth,’ he wrote.
Tidbits: Tickets for the event were reserved for Fortune MPW members, who pay an annual membership fee of $13,500, however the organization shared a few quotes on Twitter
Inspiration: When it came to her thoughts on dealing with public opinions about herself, Meghan turned to a quote about ‘flattery and criticism’ from artist O’Keeffe
‘Quite free’: The quote suggests that Meghan feels comfortable and happy in herself and can, in turn, choose to ignore the things she may read about herself, both positive and negative
He called for online communities to be ‘defined more by compassion than hate; by truth instead of misinformation; by equity and inclusiveness instead of injustice and fear-mongering; by free, rather than weaponized, speech.’
The couple were forced to drop the Sussex Royal branding as part of their release from The Firm, starting an Archewell Foundation instead, and are thought to be waiting until after the pandemic to announce any further details on their charity or any new social media accounts they may be launching.
The couple revealed their new charitable foundation Archewell in April, which will incorporate the causes close to their heart, and said the Greek word in the project Arche – meaning source of action – was the inspiration behind the name of their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
The couple submitted an application for their non-profit foundation to be called ‘Archeway’ with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on February 28.
The duke and duchess said they were focusing their efforts on the coronavirus pandemic but felt ‘compelled’ to reveal details of the venture.
‘Like you, our focus is on supporting efforts to tackle the global COVID-19 pandemic but faced with this information coming to light, we felt compelled to share the story of how this came to be.
‘Before SussexRoyal, came the idea of Arche – the Greek word meaning source of action.
‘We connected to this concept for the charitable organisation we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name. To do something of meaning, to do something that matters.
‘Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon.
‘We look forward to launching Archewell when the time is right.’