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Suits Writer Defends Meghan Markle Amid Bullying Accusations

Elyse Dupre
·4 min read
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Meghan Markle's former colleague and another longtime friend are coming to her defense.

Earlier this week, The Times reported a bullying complaint was filed against the Duchess of Sussex by a royal staffer in 2018. On March 3, a Twitter user wrote in a since-deleted post, "You know, it is fully within the realm of possibility that BOTH the denizens of Buckingham/Kensington Palace AND the Duchess of Sussex are awful people. We do live in a world no longer constrained by simply binary oppositions."

However, Jon Cowan—a writer for the show Suits, which Meghan starred on before marrying Prince Harry—stood up for her.

"It's also possible the Duchess of Sussex is a good person thrust into an unimaginable world," he replied. "Having spent 3 years working with her in her pre-Duchess days, I saw a warm, kind, caring person. I know nothing of her current situation but she gets the benefit of the doubt in my book."

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Actress Janina Gavankar, who attended Meghan and Harry's wedding, tweeted, "I have known Meghan for 17 years. Here's what she is: kind, strong, open. Here's what she's not: 'a bully'. ANY of us who know her, feel the same thing from her broken silence: Relief. The truth shall set you free."

According to The Times, Jason Knauf, who previously served as Meghan and Harry's communications secretary, filed the complaint in October 2018. The newspaper reported he sent an email to Simon Case, then private secretary for Prince William, following conversations with the head of HR Samantha Carruthers. The email was then reportedly forwarded to Samantha.

Per the publication, the email claimed the "Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year" and was "seeking to undermine" the confidence of another employee.

E! News has not seen or verified this email.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle

Buckingham Palace has since launched an investigation into the claims.

"We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex," a statement from the Palace read. "Accordingly our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article. Members of the staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned. The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace."

A spokesperson for the Sussexes has denied the allegations, calling them "a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation" in a statement to The Times.

"The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma," a spokesperson also said in a statement to E! News. "She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good."

The accusations come weeks after it was confirmed that Harry and Meghan won't be returning as working members of the royal family. The two stepped back as senior members last year. The claims also come ahead of the couple's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, which is scheduled to air Mar. 7.

While the duke and duchess' lawyers told The Times the newspaper is "being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative" before the interview, the publication wrote it "understands that the palace establishment is highly concerned that the allegations have emerged."

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In a sneak peek of the interview, titled Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, Meghan, who is pregnant, is asked how she feels about the Palace hearing her speak out.

"I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent when there is an active role that the Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us," she told Oprah. "And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there's a lot that's been lost already."