Charlie Hebdo depicts Meghan Markle as George Floyd with Queen kneeling on her neck, slammed as 'toilet paper'

'#CharlieHebdo seems to be full of old white men brainstorming offensive ideas in an attempt to get more CLOUT,' said a user

                            Charlie Hebdo depicts Meghan Markle as George Floyd with Queen kneeling on her neck, slammed as 'toilet paper'
The Charlie Hebdo magazine showing Queen Elizabeth II kneeling on the neck of Meghan Markle, a reference to the death of George Floyd last year in the US (Charlie Hebdo cover/Getty Images)

French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo sparked outrage after its latest front page cover showed a cartoon of Queen Elizabeth kneeling on the neck of Meghan Markle, drawing parallels to the death of George Floyd.

In the cartoon, published on Saturday, the headline reads, "Why Meghan left Buckingham", to which the Duchess of Sussex, from underneath the Queen’s knee, replies, "because I couldn't breathe anymore". It mimics the scene when George Floyd, a Black American, died after a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, despite Floyd's desperate pleas for help crying, "I can't breathe".


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'Distasteful as ever'

The publication, which has faced scrutiny before for its controversial drawings, has come under fire again just days after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle claimed in a CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey, that they experienced racism from royal family members and palace staff.

In the cartoon, the headline reads, 'Why Meghan left Buckingham', to which the Duchess of Sussex replies, 'because I couldn't breathe anymore' (Getty Images, Twitter)

The publication prompted widespread discussion on social media, with several users calling it offensive. Dr Halima Begum, CEO of the Runnymede Trust, a UK-based racial equality think-tank, said the cover was "wrong on every level". "This doesn't push boundaries, make anyone laugh or challenge racism. It demeans the issues and causes offence, across the board," she tweeted. "#CharlieHebdo distasteful as ever," said another Twitter user. "Without wading too much into this Charlie Hebdo debate again, if you have to continually explain that your "satire" isn't racist & isn't punching down, then it isn't very good satire, it doesn't matter which tradition it comes from, French or otherwise," a tweet said.




'Good for toilet paper magazine'

Others began posting images of a British order of chivalry founded in 1818 by King George IV, an insignia, which often depicts St Michael subduing Satan. The KCMG award 'The most distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George' is awarded for service to the United Kingdom. The medal has distressing racist imagery and is a symbol of how insidious racism is in our culture.

"Sharing this again and sorry but where’s the different [sic] with Charlie Hebdo? We keep asking your Queen to change some symbols and the monarchy attitude to #MeghanMarkle.. don’t like #CharlieHebdo but I am French and The Monarchy is a non sense [sic] in 2021. #AbolishTheMonarchy," said a tweet. "#CharlieHebdo first came for Muslims and now for Black people. What Charlie Hebdo is doing has nothing to do with #FreeSpeech but purely with commercializing and normalizing racism."

"And here they’re at it again, the ‘good for toilet paper’ #CharlieHebdo magazine Claiming ‘satire’ but in reality IS racist and islamophobic," said another. "Charlie Hebdo 's woke and cancel culture cartoon is spot on," a tweet said. "#CharlieHebdo seems to be full of old white men brainstorming offensive ideas in an attempt to get more CLOUT," another quipped.







'Yes to dark and provocative humor'

There were many who welcomed the satire with open arms. "Thanks for showing! I'm going to buy #CharlieHebdo this week #notoracism #discrimination but also yes to #darkandprovocativehumour," said one. "It's called freedom of speech. If you don't like it, hard luck! #CharlieHebdo," said another.

In 2015, as many as 11 people, including the top editor and some leading cartoonists, were killed after brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi attacked Charlie Hebdo's Paris headquarters following the magazine published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons last year. "Remember when word leaders joined a global movement to defend free speech after jihadists massacred Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in 2015 for the “crime” of being offensive? Most people on here don’t," said a tweet.



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