With Meghan Markle facing scrutiny over anything she does in England, the actress has decided to set her sights on angering people in her new home of Hollywood.
Meghan Markle today took aim at Hollywood for promoting ‘Asian stereotypes’ as she criticized Mike Myers’ Austin Powers and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill for ‘caricaturing’ Asian women ‘as over sexualised or aggressive’ in her first Archetypes podcast after a four-week break following the Queen’s death.
In a new episode exploring the ‘Dragon Lady’ stereotype with journalist Lisa Ling and comedian Margaret Cho, the Duchess of Sussex – a former actress in the legal drama Suits – called out the two 20-year-old movies ‘presenting caricatures of women of Asian descent’.
The 2002 Austin Powers film Goldmember features Japanese women Fook Mi, portrayed by Diane Mizota, and Fook Yu, played by Carrie Ann Inaba. The characters have been criticized for ‘sexually tokenising’ Asian women, and at one stage Powers – a comedy spy who is portrayed as continually on the hunt for sexual conquests – is seen with a list reading ‘threesome with Japanese twins’.
Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 cult hit Kill Bill sees Lucy Liu star as the murderously violent Yakuza leader O-Ren Ishii. The character was described by writer India Roby as a stereotypical Dragon Lady who ‘uses her sexuality as a powerful tool of manipulation, but often is emotionally and sexually cold and threatens masculinity’.
Liu responded to the criticism last year in an opinion piece for The Washington Post, in which she argued that calling O-Ren a Dragon Lady doesn’t make sense considering the film ‘features three other female professional killers in addition to Ishii’.
Meghan began today’s podcast by talking about her experience of growing up in Los Angeles which was ‘full of culture that you could see, feel, hear and taste on a daily basis’ and said she had a ‘real love’ of getting to know other cultures.
She said she was not aware of the stigmas faced by women of Asian descent until many years later.
Brief clips from Austin Powers and Kill Bill were played to illustrate Meghan’s point. The Kill Bill character O-Ren Ishii is heard removing the head of Japanese crime boss Tanaka with a a samurai sword, before stating: ‘The price you pay for either bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is: I collect your f****** head.’
Meanwhile, Austin Powers is heard being asked by Fook Mi for his autograph. When she told him her name, he replies: ‘Oh behave baby.’
‘Movies like Austin Powers and Kill Bill presented these characters of Asian women as oftentimes over sexualized or aggressive,’ Meghan says. ‘And it’s not just those two examples, there’s so many more.’
Expanding on the concept later in the podcast, the duchess told Cho: ‘The Dragon Lady, the East Asian temptress whose mysterious foreign allure is scripted as both tantalizing and deadly,’ she told Cho. This has seeped into a lot of our entertainment. But this toxic stereotyping of women of Asian descent, it doesn’t just end once the credits roll.’
In the introduction to today’s episode, Meghan spoke of going to a Korean spa with her mother as a teenager, adding: ‘It’s a very humbling experience for a girl going through puberty because you enter a room with women from ages nine to maybe 90, all walking around naked and waiting to get a body scrub on one of these tables that are all lined up in a row.
‘All I wanted was a bathing suit. Once I was over that adolescent embarrassment, my mom and I, we would go upstairs we would sit in a room and we would have a steaming bowl of the most delicious noodles.’
At one point Ling told Meghan how, when she was a broadcaster at Channel One, she was named hot reporter in the Rolling Stone’s Hot List. ‘Someone at my place of work cut out that article, drew slanted eyes over the eyes and wrote ‘yeah, right’ and then put it back in my mailbox,’ Ling said.
She said: ‘It was like every kernel of excitement that I possessed just withered away. It was so devastating that someone that I would see every day in my place of work where we’re supposed to feel comfortable, just harbored those feelings about me and had the nerve to make it racial.’
In another exchange, Korean-American comic Margaret Cho spoke about enjoying life to the full, saying: ‘I think it’s growing old and understanding the brevity of life that you have to really enjoy the time you have because it’s, it’s not very long, you know, it goes by very fast.’ Meghan replied: ‘Yeah….it’s so true.’
The pair also exchanged plaudits with Meghan telling Cho she loved her new film Fire Island and that it had been a ‘huge success.’ Cho told Meghan she discussed her admiration for the duchess on the set of the movie, saying: ‘Thank you…I loved that movie. I mean, I love Joel (actor Joel Kim Booster) … we actually talked a lot about you on set. We were just admiring you, just so much.’
Meghan replied: ‘Oh, really?… I really appreciate that.’ The duchess added: ‘Honestly, I’m thrilled. When I came downstairs, I was ‘I’m talking to Margaret Cho this morning’.’ Meghan urged her podcast listeners to be their ‘best and true self.’
‘You want to be weird or be sponge-like, be silly or fierce, be curious, or even self doubting or unsure some days and strong and brave on others,’ she said at the end of the episode. ‘Whatever it is, that’s up to you.
‘Just be yourself no matter what any societal framework or archetype or loud voice coming from a small place tells you that you should be. Be yourself. your full complete whole layered, sometimes weird, sometimes awesome, but always best and true self. Just be you. You’re so much greater than any archetype.’
It comes as the Daily Mail’s Richard Eden reported that Meghan has hired a fact checker for her podcast, which was commissioned by Spotify in December 2020.
Meghan hasn’t chosen a run-of-the-mill recruit but a young and highly talented American writer, Nicole Pasulka, whose interests closely mirror her own.
‘I write about criminal justice, activism, race, music, business, queer culture, and gender,’ Pasulka alerts visitors to her website, which mentions that she is ‘currently writing a book’.
In fact, her book was published this summer entitled: How You Get Famous – ‘a deep dive into New York city’s underground drag scene’.
Previously claims made by Meghan in interviews have been met with confusion. For example, in an interview with American magazine The Cut, she recalled chatting to a South African cast member of The Lion King at the film’s 2019 London premiere.
‘He said: ‘I just need you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison,’ ‘ Meghan recalled.
Yet Dr John Kani, the only South African cast member, has pointed out that he has never met Meghan and wasn’t at the premiere. Of course, as the late Queen memorably put it on another occasion, ‘recollections may vary’.
It comes as the Sussexes released new portraits of themselves taken by celebrity photographer Misan Harriman, director of the Southbank Centre and a close friend of the couple who was one of the few people invited to Lilibet’s Windsor first birthday party in June.
The couple are shown attending the One Young World summit for youth leaders in Manchester last month. The first image shows Meghan in a red blouse and matching trousers with a chunky gold ring and earrings. The duchess stands face on, looking into the camera and holding one of Harry’s fingers. The duke stands behind her at an angle, smiling in a smart black suit and tie.
The stance is reminiscent of the couple’s 2021 Time magazine photo shoot, in which Meghan stood in the center and Harry stood at an angle behind her with a hand resting on her shoulder.
In the second image, taken ‘just moments’ before the opening ceremony of the summit, the couple are standing next to one each other, side-on to the camera, holding hands and looking out at the audience.
Body language expert Judi James told MailOnline that the new portraits aim to show the Sussexes as a ‘power couple’ and ‘defiant’ on their return to the UK.
In a trend repeated in many pictures released by the couple, Harry is behind Meghan in a show of ‘support’. The Duchess is dressed and poses like a CEO – and her husband looks ‘dour’ behind her amid tensions with his family.
Royal experts have said that the timing of the release is significant – and could be a hint that a PR blitz is coming ahead of the release of Harry’s memoirs and their Netflix show.
Author and investigative journalist Tom Bower, who wrote a recent biography of Meghan Markle, said: ‘Now back in California, the Sussexes have clearly decided to go for broke.
‘These photos are the beginning of their renewed campaign to launch Harry’s book, the Netflix series and other lucrative appearances to re-establish their brand.
‘In the end, Meghan’s sight is fixed on maximizing her income and nothing will get in her way. Without any sympathy for Charles and the Royal family, they are now set on promoting themselves and earn their living.
‘I expect more critical interviews and Podcasts showing an uncompromising attitude towards the Royal Family’.
Another leading royal journalist predicts the portraits ‘don’t bode well for the near future’.
Phil Dampier said: ‘There is no doubt Harry and Meghan released these photos in direct response to the picture of the new King and Queen together with the Prince And Princess of Wales.
‘The timing is so obvious. In the photos they are trying to look royal and important with Harry wearing a smart suit and Meghan an understated outfit.
‘And the use of a black and white photo is an old trick dating back to the days of President Kennedy with pictures taken at the White House. Black and white is somehow more serious and statesmanlike in certain situations.
‘The overall impression is of Harry and Meghan setting up a rival court. And this doesn’t bode well for the near future.
‘We are told that Harry wants to tone down his book and the Netflix documentary on the couple out of respect for the late Queen.
‘But this tends to indicate they are not going to let go of their attempts to be seen as an alternative royal family.
‘Harry and Meghan are still waiting for the King to confirm titles for their children Archie and Lilibet.
‘Maybe this is their way of turning the screw and saying : ‘We haven’t gone away – when are you going to honor our kids?’.’
The pictures of the Sussexes were taken by celebrity photographer Misan Harriman, director of the Southbank Centre and a friend of the couple who has taken photos of celebrities including Rihanna, Stormzy, Tom Cruise and Giorgio Armani.
He posted them online last night – days after the release of an official portrait of the so-called ‘New Fab Four’: King Charles, the Queen Consort and the Prince and Princess of Wales. The phrase ‘Fab Four’ was once used to refer to William, Harry, Kate and Meghan.
Following the Sussexes’ departure from Britain and the Queen’s death last month, the picture stressed that Charles, William and their wives will be the new core of the Royal Family moving forward.
The pictures of Harry and Meghan overshadowed images of the King and the Queen Consort’s successful first public visit since the end of the Royal mourning period.
Charles and Camilla were met with large crowds as they undertook one of the late Queen’s last wishes and conferred city status on Dunfermline in Scotland.
There is no suggestion the Sussexes deliberately timed the release of their images in an attempt to eclipse the King’s visit. But is illustrative of the fact that since they moved to the US, they have not coordinated their activities with those of other members of the Royal Family, resulting in several clashes.
One Young World hosts an annual summit for young leaders to ‘be inspired, share learning, and connect’ as well as ‘raise the bar for what it is possible to achieve as leaders, individually and collectively’. Meghan gave a speech at the opening ceremony of the event in Manchester.
Addressing the 2,000-strong crowd, with representatives from 190 countries, she said it was ‘nice to be back in the UK’ and described the delegates as ‘the future, but also the present, driving the positive and necessary change needed across the globe’.
Harry and Meghan’s new photos came as the first official portrait of King Charles with Queen Consort Camilla was being studied with affection and fascination all over the world.
By their side stands the Prince of Wales, his eldest son and heir – clearly a good deal taller than Charles – and the newly appointed Princess of Wales, his wife.
The photograph is brimming with symbolism of course: the new sovereign is pictured with his son and heir, while looming behind them is a glowering portrait of King George III, the longest-reigning male monarch in British history.
But what is perhaps even more remarkable is that the picture was taken on the eve of the Queen’s funeral, when our four most senior royals were about to host a huge reception for visiting Heads of State, including US President Joe Biden, at Buckingham Palace.
The message, if one was needed, was clear: the business of monarchy never rests, even at times of great personal sorrow, and its enduring strength lies in its continuity.
However it is also a reminder that the royals are always on duty – even when they have to summon every inch of self-control, as they did during the public grieving for the Queen who for them was a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother as well as the monarch.
The photo also serves as a not-so-subtle nod to the King’s wishes for a slimmed-down monarchy: one he believes will be more relevant and more resilient.
The unspoken elephant in the room is the absence of the King’s younger son, Harry.
Three years ago, the Sussexes would have had every expectation to be part of this family ensemble.
In fact, only four years ago, there was just such a photograph issued to mark the then-Prince of Wales’s 70th birthday.
But, within months, the unity and happiness that radiated from that image had vanished.
Analysts allege it is surely can no coincidence that the picture was taken when the couple were still in Britain and several days before they returned home to their children Archie and Lilibet.
It must, therefore, be yet another signal that they will never again return to their central role in royal life.
Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan have ditched the glitzy public relations firm that has represented the former-actress since her days on legal drama Suits.
The couple have ditched New York-based public relations outfit Sunshine Sachs sources confirmed to Richard Eden on Friday.
‘This is a really big deal for Meghan,’ the insider alleged. ‘She takes the view that she doesn’t need to pay an outside firm a lot of money to do PR for her and Harry any more.’
Sunshine Sachs’ partner Keleigh Thomas Morgan played a key role in establishing the Sussexes in California, sharing her contacts and a powerful network of advisers and famous friends.
Keleigh, 45, was a long-term friend of Meghan’s and helped devise the strategy for the couple’s African tour in 2019, when they were still working members of the Royal Family.
She was also a guest at the royal wedding and has represented American actor Tyler Perry, whose Los Angeles mansion Harry and Meghan used as a base while house-hunting.
But from now on the publicity for the couple’s numerous ventures is being handled ‘in-house’ at their charitable foundation, Archewell, by former Silicon Valley bigwig Christine Schirmer, who’s head of communications.
Toya Holness, who was appointed as ‘global press secretary’ in March 2021, was reported to have parted company with the Sussexes earlier this year.
Schirmer should certainly be kept busy. Not only does Meghan’s series of podcasts for audio giant Spotify resume broadcasting next week, but the couple have a string of big projects in the pipeline including Harry’s highly controversial autobiography and a reality television show for U.S. streaming firm Netflix.
Last week, the Mail on Sunday revealed that Harry had launched an 11th-hour bid to alter his memoir amid fears it would be seen as insensitive after the Queen’s death, which saw a public outpouring of support for the Royal Family.
Have these idiots looked at how Japanese and Korean culture presents women over there? Borderline pedophile stuff with grown women dressing in very revealing little school girl outfits and talking like babies and gyrating in a sexual manner. Austin Powers showed what is happening over there. Maybe do your show in Korea?
Who cares what Megan M has to say. She likes to stir controversial pots and she is truly a narcissist.
Meghan, Get the F off your high horse. Everyonr os entitled to enjoy what they want. If you don’t like it don’t watch it. I am a good portion of society are getting really tired of idiots like you. You may have your hubby p whipped but you don’t have othrrs. Maybe he should be paddling your butt in the bedroom! Typical liberal! STFU!
does anybody even care about Her?