Meghan Markle and Serena Williams’ Husband Alexis Ohanian Talk About the Hate They’ve Both Received For Being In Interracial Relationships
Photos: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Meghan Markle continues to shine a spotlight on the difficult issues that she experiences from being a woman of color in the public eye.
On Tuesday, the Duchess of Sussex sat down for a “Time 100” talk with Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian about diversity in the tech industry. Ohanian, it should be noted, is also the husband of one of Markle’s closest friends, tennis superstar Serena Williams.
While the talk was supposed to be about “Building a Better Tech Industry”–a discussion about the importance of the “role that social media and technology companies play in society”–the conservation soon took a personal detour. Ohanian and Markle bonded over the vitriol they’ve both received online from being in interracial relationships.
The conversation started with Ohanian discussing his decision to step down from Reddit’s board of directors in June–a decision he called an act of “protest”. He asked, instead, for his place to be filled by a Black candidate. Ohanian made the decision in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement that was sweeping the nation at the time.
Ohanian explained to Markle that the vitriolic criticism he received from certain corners of the internet simply assured him that he was doing the right thing. “I just remarked recently on Twitter that given that I am still getting hate mail about [my resignation,] I knew I made the right choice.”
Markle praised Ohanian for “leading by example” before adding her own experience. “I’m sorry to hear that you’re still receiving hate mail. I know we have shared experiences in being in interracial marriages and you know raising small children who are of mixed race and how that plays into that.”
Recently, Markle has been vocal about how she’s been on the receiving end of both racist media attacks and incessant internet “trolling” over her relationship with Prince Harry. In an interview with the “Teenage Therapy” podcast, she opened up about the effect that the constant attacks have on her mental health.
“I’m told that in 2019, I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female…it’s almost unsurvivable,” she said. She then added, “I don’t care if you’re 15 or you’re 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging.”
Both Meghan Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, are actively trying to fight against online bullying and harassments through philanthropic efforts. Recently, Prince Harry called hatred in the online world a “global crisis”.