Meghan Markle: Commentator on ‘star power’ after royal tour
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Dr Anne Anderson is claiming breach of contract against the Arts Society at Exeter University, where she was an accredited lecturer for nearly 30 years. The 65-year-old was about to start a lecture over Zoom when she branded the Duchess of Sussex “dreaded Meghan”, which she claims was “taken out of context and misinterpreted”.
During an informal chat before the art lecture entitled ‘How we got Ikea: Scandinavian Design 1880-1960’, Dr Anderson commented on the aftermath of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s explosive Oprah Winfrey interview.
Dr Anderson says she uttered the words “the dreaded Meghan” and said: “You couldn’t turn the television on without some person of a colourful disposition having a moan about something”.
Days later, Dr Anderson received an email from the Arts Society’s chief executive Florian Schweizer informing her of the racism accusation, her suspension and telling her she was to face a disciplinary hearing.
The honorary associate professor at University of Exeter was accused of racism and removed from The Arts Society’s directory as a result.
Dr Anderson has since been cleared of racism but remains suspended from the The Arts Society due to “inappropriate comments and conduct”.
The panel dismissed the charge that the comments were racist due to insufficient evidence, however it agreed that they could be interpreted as racist.
They stated that the comments and Dr Anderson’s role in the discussion about Meghan Markle were “inappropriate” and could “bring The Arts Society into disrepute”.
Dr Anderson was ordered to write letters of apology to the complainants and The Arts Society Truro and attend a diversity training course.
But she refused to attend the course and has now lost her accreditation.
Speaking about her High Court Battle, she told the Daily Mail: “I have lost three quarters of my income.
“I can’t sleep.”
An Arts Society spokesman said the decision was “appropriate” adding: “We’re satisfied we acted reasonably and in a measured fashion.”
Speaking of the incident, Dr Anderson added: “We had a viewing of the video with my two complainants. Over an hour, they grilled me extensively. They thought Meghan Markle was an inappropriate topic.
“I regret saying them because they have been taken out of context and misinterpreted.
“There’s a danger of how relaxed you can be on a Zoom call in your home. People know I’m dyslexic and I always put my foot in it.”
The academic said her “colourful” comment was not racism, but a misuse of language. She said she was talking about Meghan’s language and should have used the words “florid” and “language”.
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