Boston-based writer Joanna Weiss has been criticized over an opinion piece originally titled: “Is 2022 the Year We All Finally Got Over Narcissists?”
The article read: “Elon Musk, Sam Bankman-Fried, Ye (né Kanye West), Elizabeth Holmes, Meghan Markle, Donald Trump: All of them used attention as currency and ego as fuel, and were rewarded, for a time, with what they craved.”
Netflix series Harry & Meghan, according to the piece, “suggests that there is no one more in love, no one more socially conscious, no one more aggrieved,” while Weiss’s sympathy turned to irritation because “ego has its limits.”
The piece sparked a widespread backlash, with Chris Taylor, a senior correspondent at Reuters, posting on Twitter: “Why is Meghan in there?? Demented.”
Christopher Bouzy, founder of Bot Sentinel and an interviewee in the Netflix six-part series, wrote on Twitter: “Placing Meghan Markle at the center of criminals and antisemites is not an accident.
“The hate for Meghan is palpable. A woman of color protecting her family and defending herself isn’t narcissism; it’s survival. @JoannaWeiss & @POLITICOMag should apologize for this garbage take.”
He told Newsweek he felt the magazine itself and not just the writer were responsible for the piece: “It should hurt Politico’s reputation, but unfortunately, it won’t. The writer didn’t create the graphic for the piece, and the editor didn’t have to publish the piece. In my opinion, Politico endorsed what was written in the piece.”
After publication, Politico clarified the article’s status as comment by changing the headline to: “Opinion | 2022 Is the Year We All Finally Got Tired of Narcissists.”
The original copy also described Weiss as a “contributing editor,” a title that changed to “contributing writer” after the story was updated.
Meanwhile, Ryan Heath, editorial director at Politico, wrote on Twitter: “If you want to write-off an entire publication because one of our 600 journalists included Meghan Markle on a list, you are indeed tired of free debate.
“If, instead, you actually just disagree with her being included on the list, you can say that instead.”
She wrote: “Their current Netflix series premiered to high ratings and an explosion of media thinkpieces (made you look!). Part of it is chilling: an up-close look at the British tabloid press, complete with heart-wrenching footage of Harry’s mother, Diana, hounded by paparazzi.
“But the legitimate complaints are wedged between glamour shots, from footage of Meghan getting fitted for ballgowns to a vast collection of flattering photos and videos they took during their royal exit, apparently preparing for a photogenic tell-all. Even sympathetic critics have groused that there’s little new here, beyond the vanity.”
Meghan being accused of narcissism in the media is not particularly new. Talk TV host Piers Morgan has made the allegation numerous times including at the beginning of December on Twitter: “Very clear now that Prince Harry & Meghan Markle are intent on destroying the Royal Family.
“You can agree with them or think, as I do, that they’re repulsive narcissistic hypocrites, but their agenda is now indisputable & constitutes an existential threat to the British Monarchy.”
However, Politico’s article was written by a U.S. based journalist for a publication that, at the very least, does not explicitly lean conservative and compared her to Trump, Musk, West, Holmes and Bankman-Fried.
Karen Attiah, a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote on Twitter: “Just now catching on to that @politico piece saying Meghan Markle is a narcissist on the same level as Trump, Musk, Kanye, and other scammers.
“As I said last week, white women are perfectly happy to be the footsoldiers of casual misogynoir + attacks against black women.”
Brad Dayspring, a spokesperson for Politico, told The Daily Beast: “The purpose of opinion writing and commentary is to engage readers and provoke thought. The writer shares a belief, the reader reacts with their own—sometimes agreement, sometimes not. Regardless, diversity of thought is not only welcome, but encouraged.”