As proceedings in her court case continue to rage on, Meghan Markle’s trying to stop Daily Mail’s naming of friends in her lawsuit against their paper. The Duchess of Sussex, 38, is worried that the Daily Mail’s affiliated paper, the Mail on Sunday, will reveal her friends’ identities for “clickbait.” The decision would definitely result in a serious breach of privacy for them, so Meghan is doing everything she can to stop that “vicious” threat before it happens.
In a witness statement submitted on July 9 as part of Meghan and Harry’s lawsuit against Mail publishers Associated Newspapers, the Duchess urges England’s High Court to prevent the Mail on Sunday from publicizing the names of five friends who spoke to People in early 2019. Meghan’s friends spoke anonymously to the outlet at the time, defending her against the history of British media’s bullying against her. “It’s wrong to put anyone under this level of emotional trauma, let alone when they’re pregnant,” one friend told People. Given their testimony, their names were confidentially submitted to the court and the Mail‘s defense team in early July. Now, the outlet has threatened to publish them.
Meghan has since come forward to demand that the court preserve her friends’ anonymity. “These five women are not on trial, and nor am I,” she wrote in her witness statement, eventually going on to add, “Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy.” The Duchess’ letter also condemns the Mail’s attempt to publicize their names, writing that doing so would pose “a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing.”
Yet the Mail thinks otherwise. According to a spokesperson with The Telegraph, “Their evidence is at the heart of the case and we see no reason why their identities should be kept secret.” As for the case itself, it all started when the Mail on Sunday published a private letter written by Meghan to her father, Thomas Markle. Per that offense, the Duchess is suing on the grounds of breach of privacy and copyright infringement.
You can read the entirety of Meghan’s witness statement, originally published by the Telegraph, below.
“Associated Newspapers, the owner of The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, is threatening to publish the names of five women—five private citizens—who made a choice on their own to speak anonymously with a U.S. media outlet more than a year ago, to defend me from the bullying behavior of Britain’s tabloid media.
These five women are not on trial, and nor am I.
The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case—that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter.
Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy. Both the Mail on Sunday and the court system have their names on a confidential schedule, but for the Mail on Sunday to expose them in the public domain for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain is vicious and poses a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing.
The Mail on Sunday is playing a media game with real lives.
I respectfully ask the court to treat this legal matter with the sensitivity it deserves, and to prevent the publisher of the Mail on Sunday from breaking precedent and abusing the legal process by identifying these anonymous individuals—a privilege that these newspapers in fact rely upon to protect their own unnamed sources.”