Harry and Meghan urge action against hate speech ahead of US election

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, warned about the dangers of online negativity and how "it erodes our ability to show compassion" during the TIME 100 virtual event.

Posted: Sep 23, 2020 6:50 AM
Updated: Sep 23, 2020 6:50 AM

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have weighed in on the upcoming US presidential vote, urging people to reject online negativity and hate speech as what Meghan described as "the most important election of our lifetime" approaches.

The couple, who now live in California, shared the remarks in a brief video message congratulating those who were named in this year's TIME 100 list of most influential people, aired in a virtual broadcast on ABC on Tuesday evening.

They also honored the medical community and countless voices who are working to end injustice, according to representatives for the couple. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are alumni of TIME magazine's Time 100 list, having been named in 2018.

Harry and Meghan called on viewers around the world to act with compassion in both the physical and digital worlds, use their voices, be engaged within their communities and the civic process, and care for one another, according to their representatives.

"When one person buys into negativity online, the effects are felt exponentially. It's time to not only reflect, but act," said Harry in his video remarks.

"As we approach this November, it's vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity. What we consume, what we are exposed to, and what we engage with online, has a real effect on all of us," he said.

"Every four years, we're told, 'This is the most important election of our lifetime.' But this one is," said Meghan. "When we vote our values are put into action, and our voices are heard."

"Seeing our world through the lens of community is so important. Because we need to redraw the lines of how we engage with each other -- both online and off," she added.

"Tonight reminds us of how important it is to watch out for each other, to care for each other, and to inspire each other," said Harry.

The prince noted that he would not himself be able to vote in November, since he is not a US citizen, adding that he had also never voted in a UK election. Britain's royals customarily do not discuss political issues.

Since the couple decided to step back from their senior roles in the royal family, the Duchess of Sussex -- who retained her US citizenship after her marriage to Harry in 2018 -- has become more outspoken on issues touching on politics.

She has already been involved in efforts this year to encourage people to turn out and vote, teaming up with figures including political activist Gloria Steinem and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

The TIME 100 list of the most influential people, released each year, includes artists, scientists, activists, leaders and individuals who have had significant impact in the global community.

This year's list includes: US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, US President Donald Trump, former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris, US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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