Former New Zealand Woman’s Weekly editor Alice O’Connell admits publishing ‘untrue’ Harry and Meghan stories

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Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.Photo/AP

A former New Zealand women’s magazine editor has admitted publishing “untrue” stories about Harry and Meghan and apologized to them.

Referring to Duke of Sussex’s recent lawsuit accusing British tabloids of illegally gathering information, ex-editor new zealand women’s weekly Alice O’Connell stated in an open letter The case has led her to reflect on her treatment of the 38-year-old prince.

O’Connell wrote on Capsule, her lifestyle website, where she is editor, that she had never been involved in anything “shameful and despicable” like phone hacking or other egregious tactics to gain coverage. Superintendent, she remains “a cog in society”. machine”.

“I reproduced stories and quotes from British newspapers and magazines which, to the best of my knowledge, are untrue.”

Alice O'Connell, Editorial Director of Capsule and former editor of New Zealand Women's Weekly.
Alice O’Connell, Editorial Director of Capsule and former editor of New Zealand Women’s Weekly.

She added that during her tenure as editor of the popular magazine, she also commissioned stories from British authors, acknowledging that the stories and some of the information they provided her were “likely, in hindsight, to be untrue”.

O’Connell and three other former Bauer magazine editors were the driving force behind Capsule after the company’s Kiwi magazine business collapsed in April 2020, resulting in the layoff of around 300 staff.

and HeraldO’Connell explained her apology was, “long overdue, but I think enough time has passed for me to have a clearer understanding of my role in covering Prince Harry”.

She added that she had been reading “inaccurate and unnecessarily mean or malicious” stories about the prince, which had left her “increasingly frustrated”.

“I had hoped that other news organizations or journalists would reflect on the role they played and stand by what Harry had said about the media for so long, but I realized that was something I needed to do myself too.”

She acknowledged that “it’s easy to lose perspective amid the change and stress of the job,” adding that her time as an editor was spent in an “unhealthy work environment,” which she felt was “ultimately (unfortunately)” reflected in the in the magazine.

“When I was in this role, I didn’t reflect enough on what I was doing. It was a stressful, fast-paced job, and the focus was always on selling last issue and selling the next .”

Asked how she reacts to women’s magazines and headlines now, she said they seem to be “less dependent on the royal family, which can only be a good thing”.

Since publishing the letter, the former magazine editor said the response has been positive.

Her letter cites numerous instances of her magazine publishing negative or untrue stories, including the feud between Prince William, Duchess Kate, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and more specifically Meghan’s reportedly The Sussexes left Kate in tears ahead of their wedding. 2018.

O’Connell wrote that they released the story based on information provided by official sources, but she now knows “the opposite” happened. Their sources provided the magazine with the information “to tell a different version of events to protect their own royals” or perhaps as a diversion to cover up other negative royal stories.

O’Connell also mentioned the Sussexes’ Netflix documentary harry and meghanwhich was released last year, and the cover is new zealand women’s weekly When the couple spoke about the negative press about them.

The cover features Meghan posing for a promotional photoshoot for Suits, with the caption “Meghan’s Shocking Past”. Is Harry getting into trouble? It was signed by the former magazine editor. Given the nature of her documentary, she has received requests for comment from several media outlets.

The cover of Ladies Weekly is featured in Harry and Meghan's Netflix documentary.
The cover of Ladies Weekly is featured in Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary.

Admitting she was surprised it came out because she thought there were worse headlines out there, she wrote, “Shame on me too. This is unnecessarily vile.

While publishing stories that framed Harry and Meghan in a negative light were “sell” stories, they didn’t fit with her original purpose as an editor who prided herself on selling a magazine that didn’t contain salacious or excessive gossip stories, she said .

“However, I don’t always get it right. Especially when Harry and his wife Meghan are worried.”

O’Connell worked for New Zealand Women’s Weekly from 2014 to 2020. During her time at the magazine, she worked as an assistant editor before becoming editor in 2016.

In the letter, she also reminisced about Harry’s visit to New Zealand in 2014 and how she contributed to the Women’s Weekly.

O’Connell said that during the trip she was part of local and international media groups and said she saw how “pragmatically” Harry asked the public to address him by his first name rather than HRH. She also said that on that trip, Harry clearly despised the media.

In 2014, Sir Jerry Mateparae, then Governor-General of New Zealand, received the traditional Maori welcome of Britain's Prince Harry.Photo/AP
In 2014, Sir Jerry Mateparae, then Governor-General of New Zealand, received the traditional Maori welcome of Britain’s Prince Harry.Photo/AP

O’Connell said international media — including sun and daily mail – are a bunch of “grumpy people” who are very demanding of a prince who refuses to cater to them.

She went on to say that Harry seemed to be “paraded around like a circus animal” and called “crazy” when he didn’t give the media a good enough performance.

When it comes to celebrities, O’Connell said media scrutiny was the price they paid, but Prince Harry, as a born royal, had no choice in the matter.

Ultimately, the former magazine editor said she was “wasting time” spending time chasing stories about who Harry’s next girlfriend would be and how the rest of the family would react.

“Harry deserves better. His wife deserves better. They still deserve better. As far as I’m concerned, for him and Meghan, I’m really sorry.”

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