A lawyer has been cleared after being the center of an investigation after she wrote a racially insensitive tweet about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s daughter Lilibet Diana’s name. Joanna Toch, a family law attorney, was investigated by a regulator before she was cleared and now she’s speaking out about her experience.
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s Controversial Name Decision
In June 2021, shortly after news broke that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had welcomed their second child, a baby girl they named Lilibet Diana. The name has particular significance to Harry, as “Lilibet” was a childhood nickname for his grandmother Queen Elizabeth while “Diana,” of course, is the name of his late mother.
When the name was released, there was a wave of backlash from some royal watchers who believed that it was uncouth of the Sussexes to name their daughter the queen’s personal nickname. Some even insisted that the royal duo had only picked those names as a way to ingratiate themselves to the rest of the royal family.
Amid that wave of reactionary backlash, a contributor for The Daily Telegraph named Julie Burchill tweeted, “What a missed opportunity. They could have called it Georgina Floydina!” For context, the year before a man named George Floyd was killed by police officers after they knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. The reason for his detainment by police was a purportedly fake $20 bill. He left behind five children, including a six-year-old daughter, and two grandchildren.
‘Don’t Black Names Matter?’
Joanna Toch commented on the thread, writing in, “No Doria? Don’t Black names matter?” The tweet was apparently referencing Markle’s mother Doria Ragland as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, which was heavily involved in the nationwide protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd. As a result of the tweet, Toch was briefly suspended from her law firm and subjected to 83 complaints to the Bar Standards Board (BSB).
At the time, Toch’s firm, Family Law Cafe Limited, released a statement about the suspension, stating that there was an ongoing internal investigation and adding, “FLC considers her comments as offensive, unacceptable and highly contradictory to the inclusive manner in which FLC has always and will continue to work with members of all communities in managing the challenges of matrimonial and family disputes.”
Reinstated Following Controversy
The suspension was eventually lifted and the BSB dismissed the allegations against her. In a statement obtained by Newsweek, Toch said, “My tweets were misinterpreted, perhaps deliberately by some, and I was publicly vilified with threats made about me and my family.”
The statement continued, “The furor was whipped up by those who should have known better in my view. The Family Law Bar Association and the Bar Council put out rash comments without speaking with me to see what my side of events was. This whole episode shows how a few people can decide what they think something means and bypass any attempt to clarify or use due process.”
Toch concluded, “I am sorry that those working with me had to also stand up to some nasty bullying behavior. I continue to support British tolerance and the rule of law and I always will. I knew that all the nonsense put out about me had no truth in it and I didn’t read it at the time.” We wonder what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle think of all this hullabaloo.
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