Words by Elena Sheppard.
Meghan Markle — who turned 38 on Sunday — has been accused of overlooking white women as guest editor of British Vogue’s September issue. Writer Camilla Tominey, who covers the royal family and politics for The Telegraph, is now being accused of promoting a “white supremacy mentality” by readers outraged by her complaint about the duchess’s choice to amplify women of colour in the UK magazine.
A quote from Tominey’s article, which was promoted via The Telegraph’s Twitter account, asks, “I wonder whether Meghan was conscious of the bias she showed in choosing 15 ‘forces for change’ for the Vogue cover, all of whom were women, of which only five were white?"
The line is a reference to Prince Harry’s feature in the issue of British Vogue, in which he spoke out against “unconscious bias” involving race.
"I wonder whether Meghan was conscious of the bias she showed in choosing 15 ‘forces for change’ for the Vogue cover, all of whom were women, of which only five were white?" writes @CamillaTominey https://t.co/FSGmJINa4Z— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) August 3, 2019
For reference, the women featured on the cover of Meghan’ss issue are activist and model Adwoa Aboah, model Adut Akech, boxer Ramla Ali, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, educator and advocate Sinead Burke, actress Gemma Chan, actress and LGBTQ advocate Laverne Cox, actress and political activist
Jane Fonda, actress Salma Hayek, ballerina Francesa Hayward, actress Jameela Jamil, writer Chimamanda Adichie, actress Yara Shahidi, environmental activist Greta Thunberg and model and maternity health activist Christy Turlington. Of the 15, Ardern, Burke, Turlington, Thunberg and Fonda are white.
Tominey’s article argues that this line-up of women is discriminatory, writing, “If I was pale, male and stale, I’d be feeling pretty discriminated against right now.”
People swiftly spoke out against the article and lambasted The Telegraph , calling both Tominey’s argument and the promotion of it racist.
I’m white and I feel completely represented by every woman who wants to make positive changes in this world regardless of her race, ethnicity etc. I’m not represented by woman like you who can’t clearly go beyond the colour of people’s skin.— Marta18111 (@ML18111) August 3, 2019
Hi, question for Camilla here - how many white women would have been acceptable for Meghan to have chosen? Thanks— Mollie Goodfellow (@hansmollman) August 3, 2019
My heart bleeds for Camilla 💔— Kimberly McIntosh🙅🏿 (@mcintosh_kim) August 3, 2019
2002-2014, no individual black model got a British Vogue cover. Former editor Shulman gave two black models solo covers during her 25-year tenure as they “would sell fewer copies”
But Camilla only got 5 faces on this 1 cover to represent her 😢 https://t.co/qJXZaPWQur
This is the worst take I have ever had the displeasure of reading. How embarrassing. https://t.co/1LxfKv9Exe— Black Girls Book Club (@bg_bookclub) August 3, 2019
This is white supremacy mentality. She’s can’t see herself in other women and she’s not happy with 1/3 representation. This is a sad excuse for journalism— Ashley Romans (@romans_ash) August 3, 2019
Edward Enninful, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief, has been a vocal proponent of diversifying magazine covers since his appointment in 2017.
Enninful told the New York Times that Meghan turned down the opportunity to be on this cover herself saying, “She wanted, instead, to focus on the women she admires. As you will see from her selections throughout this magazine, she is willing to wade into more complex and nuanced areas, whether they concern female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege.”
Tominey, did not subscribe to that vision, instead opening her article by writing, “May I make the following remarks without being accused of racism (either consciously or unconsciously)? Probably not.”
Tominey later replied to the backlash to her article with a tweet. She also accused Meghan of playing favourites with women with ties to the magazine’s advertisers.
But the irony of tweeps championing Meghan’s ‘inclusivity’ agenda while declaring anyone who dares to question it ‘a racist’ really has been quite something... happy Saturday folks... #inclusivity #butonlyifyouagreewithme— Camilla Tominey (@CamillaTominey) August 3, 2019
Also I’m all for Meghan championing women who don’t necessarily have links to Vogue’s advertisers (Fonda- L’Oreal, Hayek - husband owns luxury brands, Turlington - Marc Jacobs, Chan - Kurt Geiger ....) https://t.co/Rqf3KoOZGw— Camilla Tominey (@CamillaTominey) August 3, 2019