Meghan's surprise for 'America’s Got Talent' finalist who was wrongly jailed for 36 years labeled 'publicity stunt'
'Seems this gal, really does want to stay in the limelight ..so much for the privacy gig she called for,' a user commented
Meghan Markle surprised America's Got Talent audiences as she appeared on the season finale with a heartfelt message for singer Archie Williams, who was released last year after being wrongly imprisoned for a staggering 36 years. While the contest saw Williams finish in the Top 10, his life's story struck a chord with the Duchess of Sussex, who attended the event via video link from her home, the Daily Mail reported. "Hi Archie! I just wanted to let you know that we have been so moved by your story, and we have been cheering you on every week," Meghan said, addressing the singer.
The 59-year-old was reportedly wrongly convicted of raping a 31-year-old woman in 1982 after being unreliable picked out of a photographic lineup. Williams spent decades in jail until his innocence was finally proven in 2019.
This was Meghan's latest television appearance as the Sussexes look to boost their PR profile in the United States. Earlier this week, the Duchess sparked backlash after weighing in on the upcoming election and backing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Nonetheless, Meghan quipped during her AGT appearance that her support for Williams was "not just because we’re partial to the name" -- referring to her 16-month-old son of the same name.
"So a very special message to you that I will probably be saying all of my life, but this night, it is specifically for you," she continued. "Archie, we are proud of you and we are rooting for you, and we can’t wait to see what you do. We’re in your corner. Have a good night!" Markle added.
Archie appeared speechless as the moment became one of the highlights of the AGT finale. Willams was arrested in 1983 after an alleged rape victim told police to 'look for someone who looked like him' as she picked his photograph from a lineup. She positively identified him later the following day.
But a friend of the victim, who reportedly came face to face with the rapist, identified a different suspect from the lineup. Meanwhile, Williams argued he was asleep at the time of the attack in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His mother and two others also testified they had seen him sleeping at home.
Furthermore, authorities revealed they had found fingerprints at the crime scene that did not belong to "Williams, the victim, or her husband." Despite this, Williams was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole in April 1983.
In March 2019, fingerprint experts searched the FBI database and found a direct match to known sex offender Stephen Forbes, who reportedly had died in 1996 while incarcerated for other rapes.
Once Williams's innocence was proven, prosecutors joined his legal defense and requested that his conviction be nullified. Williams became a free man after 36 years in captivity for no fault of his.
While Meghan may have only good wishes for the wrongfully-convicted Williams, social media did not appear to let bygones be bygones. "Appalling that she uses being a Duchess to support a contestant on a talent show yet REFUSES to address #Netflix showing “Cuties”. As a mother, child protection should be a priority," one tweeted. "Seems this gal, really does want to stay in the limelight ..so much for the privacy gig she called for ...," another added. "She will do anything for publicity and cloak it in guise racial equality et al. Even though 6 months ago she and Harry were demanding privacy. #RinsedAndRan," a third commented. "This selfish woman has an overrated opinion of herself and seems to be everywhere - she is one of the (if not, THE) most annoying people on the planet!" a fourth chimed in.
#MeghanMarkle sends message to Archie Williams during the AGT finale.— Where Is Archie? (@IsArchieOK) September 24, 2020
Appalling that she uses being a Duchess to support a contestant on a talent show yet REFUSES to address #Netflix showing “Cuties”. As a mother child protection should be a priority.
Meghan Markle sends message to Archie Williams during the AGT finale https://t.co/wA70nKUmFa via @MailOnline seems this gal, really dies want to stay in the limelight ..so much for th3 privacy gig she called for ...— RobbieJobbie (@Roberta64852816) September 24, 2020
She will do anything for publicity and cloak it in guise racial equality et al. Even though 6 months ago she and Harry were demanding privacy. #RinsedAndRan— It'sOkayToBeWhite👌🏻 #WhiteLivesMatter #DefundBBC (@Now_ShesOffOn1) September 24, 2020
Meghan Markle sends message to Archie Williams during the AGT finale https://t.co/lUkDHMBmQJ via @MailOnline
This selfish woman has an overrated opinion of herself and seems to be everywhere - she is one of the (if not, THE) most annoying people on the planet!— Mike D (@AbarthFerrari) September 24, 2020
Meghan Markle sends message to Archie Williams during the AGT finale https://t.co/C2v6S78Olo via https://t.co/BSn1Y5ArMR