Meghan Markle’s call for mentors to help women back into work was mocked on an Australian TV show, prompting a furious reaction from her fans.
Karl Stefanovic and Sophie Walsh told viewers of Today on Channel 9 that the Duchess of Sussex was “too smiley” and her husband Prince Harry had “lost the plot.”
The broadside came after Meghan used her 40th birthday to launch a project encouraging mentors to volunteer 40 minutes of their time to help a woman back into work.
The campaign is designed to aid women pushed out of the labor market by coronavirus. The problem affects 3 million women in the U.S., according to a CBS News report in February.
Meghan and comedian Melissa McCarthy filmed a light-hearted video to promote the project, but Stefanovic and Walsh were unimpressed.
Walsh told Today viewers: “I love that she’s lecturing people about getting back to the workplace and she quit her job as a royal after less than two years.”
Stefanovic said: “And to have that dog’s life, just lying there in front of the fire that’s not on, on a pillow.”
A reporter for the channel then suggested the beagle, named Guy, might be stuffed before Stefanovic asked: “Why doesn’t she talk normally?”
He impersonated Meghan’s Californian accent, saying: “‘To harness the woman’s mobility as she works back…’ I mean, come on!”
Walsh added that Meghan was “too smiley” before suggesting: “Harry’s lost the plot.”
One supporter wrote: “The video was great, funny, mocking the English, and her 40×40 initiative is very clever. But I am disgusted by Karl and his antics! And whoever that woman sitting next to him is, it is because of people like her that the Sussexes left the UK. But, they are thriving and happy!”
Another outraged viewer posted: “Karl Stefanovic & Sophie Walsh – disgusting, bottom feeding, prime morning TROLLS #Hypocrites #9Today.”
A third Twitter post read: “I think that the rather d*m today show host who accused Meghan of quitting her job but is trying to get woman into work should make comments about what they understand. There is no law against quitting jobs for a better one. They’re not living on taxpayers fun but own sweat!!!”
In a statement on her website to launch the campaign, Meghan said: “In reflecting on my 40th birthday and the many things I am grateful for, I’m struck that time is among our greatest and most essential gifts. Time with our loved ones, time doing the things we love, time spent learning, laughing, growing, and the sacred time we have on this earth.
“Amongst the most valuable gifts of time is also time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change.
“To that last point, and with my 40th lap around the sun in mind, it made me wonder: what would happen if we all committed 40 minutes to helping someone else or to mentoring someone in need? And then what would happen if we asked our friends to do the same?”