Meghan Markle Asked the Court to Prevent the Mail on Sunday Naming Her Friends for "Clickbait"

london, england   january 07 meghan, duchess of sussex visits canada house on january 07, 2020 in london, england photo by samir husseinwireimage
Samir HusseinGetty Images
  • Meghan Markle is suing Associated Newspapers—publishers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, and Mail Online—for breach of privacy and copyright infringement, after they published a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle.
  • In a court filing on Thursday, Meghan asked the High Court to stop the Mail on Sunday from publishing the names of five of her friends who spoke anonymously to People last year.
  • "The Mail on Sunday is playing a media game with real lives," Meghan wrote in a witness statement.

    Meghan Markle has applied to England's High Court to prevent the Mail on Sunday from naming five of her friends who gave an interview to People last year, Sky News reports. In a witness statement submitted Thursday, as part of her ongoing lawsuit against Mail publishers Associated Newspapers, the Duchess of Sussex said naming her friends would be "vicious" and could pose "a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing."

    Meghan's friends spoke to People under condition of anonymity in February 2019, condemning the bullying she faced from the British tabloid media. "It’s wrong to put anyone under this level of emotional trauma, let alone when they’re pregnant," one friend said. In the witness statement requesting that the court preserve her friends' anonymity, Meghan wrote, "These five women are not on trial, and nor am I," accusing the Mail on Sunday of attempting to "create a circus and distract from the point of this casethat the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter."

    The Duchess is suing Associated Newspapers for breach of privacy and copyright infringement after they published a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, in 2019. The Mail on Sunday claims they published the letter after Meghan's friends mentioned it in the People article, with a spokesperson telling the Telegraph, "Their evidence is at the heart of the case and we see no reason why their identities should be kept secret."

    Meghan confidentially submitted her friends' names to the court and to the Mail on Sunday's defence team last week, Sky News reports. In her witness statement, she wrote, "Both the Mail on Sunday and the court system have their names on a confidential schedule, but for the Mail on Sunday to expose them in the public domain for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain is vicious and poses a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing."

    Read Meghan's full witness statement, as published by the Telegraph, below:

    Associated Newspapers, the owner of The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, is threatening to publish the names of five women—five private citizens—who made a choice on their own to speak anonymously with a U.S. media outlet more than a year ago, to defend me from the bullying behavior of Britain’s tabloid media.
    These five women are not on trial, and nor am I.
    The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case—that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter.
    Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy. Both the Mail on Sunday and the court system have their names on a confidential schedule, but for the Mail on Sunday to expose them in the public domain for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain is vicious and poses a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing.
    The Mail on Sunday is playing a media game with real lives.
    I respectfully ask the court to treat this legal matter with the sensitivity it deserves, and to prevent the publisher of the Mail on Sunday from breaking precedent and abusing the legal process by identifying these anonymous individuals—a privilege that these newspapers in fact rely upon to protect their own unnamed sources.

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