A BBC comedy spoof featuring a ‘trailer trash’ Meghan Markle threatening to “cut” Kate Middleton has brought outrage from viewers but no apology from the British broadcaster.
Audience complaints flooded mainstream and social media after BBC Two show Tonight With Vladimir Putin portrayed the Duchess of Sussex as a jealous, violent hillbilly.
The show uses performance capture technology to turn comedians into 3D digital characters.
“What a fantastic way to perpetuate the idea of angry black women and sow even more division between her and the perfect Kate Middleton, tweeted one fan about the ‘Meghan Markle’s Royal Sparkle’ skit.
Said another, “I have to ask myself, what kind of racist country is Britain?”
Tweeted a third, “I thought we were better than this.”
Other viewers described the chat show as “sickening”, “appalling” and “disgusting”, with many saying they had complained to the BBC and would indefinitely boycott the broadcaster.
“The BBC should have pulled the plug on this unfunny, offensive mess,” said The Telegraph.
The BBC has previously landed exclusive interviews with the royal family, including Megan and Prince Harry’s 2018 engagement sit-down.
In the spoof, the Duchess of Sussex’s character took questions from the audience.
Asked what makes her angry, the fake Meghan – who said she is on the show “to get to know you, the United British of Kingdom people” – told an anecdote about the Duchess of Cambridge asking to borrow her hairbrush.
“I say no because that’s gross and then I leave my room and come back and I can tell she’s used my hairbrush anyway because it’s covered in skanky hair that’s going grey,” said the TV duchess.
“And I say, ‘Stay the f–k out of my trailer or I’ll cut you, Kate.”
The show also lampooned Meghan’s fractured relationship with father Thomas Markle and saw her asked by a woman what it is like being married to Harry.
“I mean, what’s that about? Do you have a problem with me and Harry? Are you trying to lay claim to my man?” asked Meghan.
She challenged the audience member to a fight: “We can go right now, bitch, you and me.”
Writer and comedian Gbemisola Ikumelo, who voiced Meghan, was also called out by upset Tonight with Vladimir Putin viewers.
Ikumelo said she portrayed Meghan as the real duchess’ polar opposite: “I was interested in finding humour in the ridiculous.
“What if somebody who seems super lovely in public actually has a really mean streak? So I introduced an over-the-top, shouty, hill-billy drawl,” Ikumelo said.
“I’m done censoring legit choices and feelings because someone might misinterpret me as an angry black woman. That trope belongs to the media, not to black women.”
The BBC defended the show’s portrayal of Meghan as comedy.
“Viewers will clearly recognise this performance as a spoof and highly satirical, within the context of a program which lampoons a wide range of public figures and the public’s perception of them,” said a spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Meghan, 37, and Harry, 34, also had details of their domestic life revealed when annual royal accounts were revealed on Tuesday (AEST.)
Figures showed British taxpayers paid $4.4 million for the Sussexes’ Windsor home Frogmore Cottage to be renovated from five properties into one.
“All fixtures and fittings were paid for by Their Royal Highnesses,” said Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse.
Accounts for the Sovereign Grant, which funds the Queen and her household’s official expenses, show the monarchy cost the British taxpayer $123m during 2018-19. That was up almost $37 million on the previous financial year.
Much of the money was spent modernising decades-old services at Buckingham Palace and maintaining the occupied royal palaces.
As well as renovating her home, Meghan has already updated her engagement ring, replacing the original solid yellow gold band with a pave diamond one.
Harry, who proposed with the ring over a chicken dinner, said he designed the ring with gold “because that’s her favourite”.