Although Prince Harry hasn’t kept up a Twitter account in the past few years, he’s been taking some heat on the social media network recently over his past behavior. “#PrinceHarryIsARacist” has been trending on and off as some social media users rehash the Duke of Sussex’s previous racist scandals, including the infamous occasion when he wore a Nazi uniform. We explore why these scandals are experiencing a resurgence and look into the most vocal accounts to get to the bottom of this.
Why #PrinceHarryIsARacist Trended On Twitter
A hashtag has trended on and off over the last day or so that is bringing past scandals to the surface again for Prince Harry that he’d probably rather stay buried. Harry’s upcoming UN address on Mandela Day, July 18, is likely the spark that inspired this hashtag. We also took a look at Twitter accounts that posted beneath the hashtag to get a good idea of what the people who spread it are like.
The hashtag first began appearing on July 12, with some Twitter users recalling Harry’s 2005 scandal, where he attended a costume party dressed in a Nazi uniform, complete with a swastika patch. Shortly after photos of the prince were published, Harry issued an apology which, by today’s standards, isn’t the best we’ve seen.
Prince Harry’s Nazi Uniform Apology
At the time, Harry issued the following statement: “I am very sorry if I caused any offense or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologize.” Where Harry’s apology falters under today’s standards is when he hedges “if I caused any offense or embarrassment,” when the offense and embarrassment he caused were fairly evident to see.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told People at the time, “We strongly urge Prince Harry to accompany the British delegation on Jan. 27 to the Auschwitz death camp to commemorate 60 years since liberation. There he will see the results of the hated symbol he so foolishly and brazenly chose to wear.”
Sandhurst Video Scandal
Another incident referenced by the Twitter users was a series of videos leaked to the public that showed Harry referring to his fellow Sandhurst cadets as derogatory slurs based on their ethnicity (Suggest will not be repeating the racial slurs). In a strange turn of events, the videos, which were released in 2009, were actually filmed three years earlier.
In one video, Harry operated the camera in a room full of sleeping cadets. When he came to one man, Harry made a reference to his ethnicity using a slur. The man did not respond, as he was seemingly asleep. In another video, Harry is with a group of soldiers when he refers to one as a slur typically used against people of Muslim beliefs or otherwise Middle-Eastern background. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense acknowledged, “We are not aware of any complaint having been made,” regarding the events of the videos.
Clarence House issued an immediate apology on Harry’s behalf after the videos were published, with an army spokesperson telling The Guardian, “The army does not tolerate inappropriate behavior in any shape or form. The army takes all allegations of inappropriate behavior very seriously and all substantive allegations are investigated. This specific case will be dealt with in line with normal army procedures.”
Why Now? And What For?
While these truly are Harry’s worst scandals, why are they coming up now? Two words: Mandela Day. These people are clearly trying to cloud Harry’s reputation by…bringing up his two biggest scandals that dominated the tabloids and media at the time and clearly haven’t been forgotten by anyone.
It would seem that the main people pushing this hashtag are also quite public about their literal hatred for Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle. One user who posted multiple times under the hashtag has a bio that reads, “Just as #JussieSmollett and #AmberHeard were exposed, I’m committed to exposing #MeghanMarkle’s lies, pretentious, and wicked conduct.”
Anti-Sussex Meets The Pro-Cambridge Squad
Others are clear supporters of Harry’s brother, Prince William, and apparently believe the way to the second-in-line to the throne’s heart is by trashing his younger brother. In our opinion, this was just an exercise in cruelty. Harry has been open about his regrets about his past, specifically these two incidents which were, at best, deeply antisemitic in one case and embarrassingly racist in the other.
Harry’s Latest Acknowledgment Of Past Racism
Last year, during an appearance on Dax Shephard’s podcast Armchair Expert, Harry addressed the Nazi uniform scandal, as well as his use of racial slurs against his fellow cadets of color. “I thought I understood life, especially bearing in mind most of the countries I was going to and the communities I was going to were people of color,” Harry acknowledged, saying he “screwed up” by dressing as a Nazi.
“I had to uncover and understand more about unconscious bias. I thought since I screwed up when I was younger and then did the work, I thought I then knew but I didn’t. And I still don’t fully know. It’s a constant work in progress and every single one of us has it.”
Each of us is a work in progress. That doesn’t excuse past transgressions by any means and Prince Harry will bear the consequences, both visible and invisible, of his actions as a young man for all the days of his life. That being said, he clearly isn’t the man he was back then, when he was deeply troubled and working through those complicated emotions in ways that were self-destructive. His family was a massive support for him then and even though they went through a period of estrangement, it’s clear that his family still loves him deeply, even if online weirdos insist on taking sides.