Meghan’s friend Omid Scobie gloats over sacking of Julie Burchill
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s biographer Omid Scobie revealed Telegraph columnist Julie Burchill had been ‘fired’ hours after highlighting a ‘racist’ tweet by the journalist about the couple’s new baby to her boss.
Miss Burchill, 61, was criticised for a remark made on Twitter where she had described the naming of the baby, Lilibet Diana – a tribute to both the Queen and the Duke of Sussex‘s mother – as a ‘missed opportunity’.
The columnist said on Sunday: ‘They could have called it Georgina Floydina’ – a reference to George Floyd, whose murder by US police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020 led to global Black Lives Matter protests against racism.
But the following day Mr Scobie – who is the royal editor at Harper’s Bazaar and a friend of Harry and Meghan who co-wrote their biography Finding Freedom – highlighted Miss Burchill’s comments to his 69,000 followers.
Commenting on the newspaper columnist’s post, Mr Scobie said at about 1.30pm on Monday: ‘The fact that credible outlets still employ this individual speaks volumes about the state of our media landscape.
By 5pm he posted an image showing her account – under the name @boozeandfagz – no longer existed, saying: ‘Twitter wasted no time. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter, @chrisevans1 @Telegraph.’
Julie Burchill (left) was criticised by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s biographer Omid Scobie (right) for a remark on Twitter
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, pictured with Archie at Windsor Castle in May 2019, now have a second child, Lilibet Diana
Chris Evans is the editor of the Telegraph. Miss Burchill then said on Facebook at 1pm yesterday: ‘I’ve been sacked by the Telegraph – it’s been a lovely five years, and I’ll always be grateful to them for ending my wilderness years.
‘However, I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t often moaned to my husband recently about them always rejecting my edgy column ideas and giving me more pedestrian ones – which I’ve done splendidly anyway.’
Five hours later, at 6pm, Mr Scobie wrote: ‘A spokesperson for The Telegraph confirms that Julie Burchill no longer works for the paper. A source confirms that she was fired following her racist tweets about the Sussexes’ second child (and refusal to apologise for them).’
A source at the Telegraph said it was wrong to say Miss Burchill had been sacked, because she was not a member of staff and not on a freelance contract. They added that she was a ‘contributor’ and it would be wrong to ‘infer’ she would not be used in this capacity again.
A source also told MailOnline that the Telegraph was not contacted about Miss Burchill by Harry, Meghan or a representative for them – and the newspaper was also not aware of Mr Scobie’s tweets in advance of making a decision on Miss Burchill.
Barrister Joanna Toch was suspended from her legal practice after she suggested that the girl should be called ‘Doprah’
MailOnline has asked the Telegraph whether Mr Scobie’s tweets played a part in Miss Burchill being let go.
Julie Burchill: 1980s wild child who made her name on NME aged 17 and had a 30-year cocaine habit
Julie Burchill in London in 1989
Julie Burchill was born in 1959 in Bristol to a communist trade union activist who worked in a distillery and mother who worked in in a cardboard box factory.
The 61-year-old began her media career writing in the New Musical Express as a 17-year-old before later working for the Sunday Times, the Mail on Sunday and Vanity Fair.
Miss Burchill, who is said at her peak to have become the highest-paid woman writer in the history of UK journalist, was briefly married to NME colleague Tony Parsons with whom she had a son.
But aged 25 she left him and married another journalist, Cosmo Landesman, with whom she also had a son. She also had relationships with the writer Charlotte Raven and her younger brother Daniel Raven.
Known as the ‘Queen of the Groucho Club’ in the 1980s, she gained a reputation for wild partying, binge drinking and drug use, revealing just last year that she eventually quit a 30-year cocaine habit.
In March she admitted she ‘deeply regrets’ waging a campaign of abuse against the Muslim journalist Ash Sarkar and should have ‘behaved better’.
She agreed to pay substantial damages to Ms Sarkar after admitting making defamatory comments about her, including that she ‘worshipped a paedophile’ and was an Islamist and a hypocrite.
Last year Miss Burchill was at the centre of controversy over comments she made to a Muslim journalist about the Prophet Muhammad.
She gave an ‘unreserved’ apology and agreed to pay Ash Sarkar, a journalist at Novara Media, substantial damages.
Following on from the Lilibet row, a top barrister was suspended from her job over a ‘racist’ tweet posted in reply to Miss Burchill’s original remark.
Referring to Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, Joanna Toch, 59, wrote: ‘No Doria? Don’t black names matter?’
Miss Burchill wrote back: ‘I was hoping for Doria Oprah, the racist rotters’ – a reference to chat show star Miss Winfrey, who had hosted Harry and Meghan’s infamous interview back in March. The family law barrister then replied: ‘Doprah?’
After a furious backlash online, Miss Toch apologised ‘unreservedly’ and said she herself had ‘children of colour’.
Before deleting her Twitter account, Miss Toch – a former British Olympic rower – wrote: ‘I am very sorry for the comment and what I saw as a joke. I’ve fought during my professional life against racism which is abhorrent.’
But her company Family Law Cafe then said it had suspended her ‘pending an internal review’ into the remarks.
Miss Burchill had sparked controversy late last year after telling Ms Sarkar that her following of the Prophet Muhammad was the ‘worship of a paedophile’.
She then apologised ‘unreservedly and unconditionally’ and revealed in a statement published on Twitter that she had agreed to pay Ms Sarkar ‘substantial damages’ for the ‘distress’ caused by the row last December.
The spat started when Miss Burchill defended journalist Rod Liddle after Ms Sarkar hit out at a 2012 article in the Spectator where Mr Liddle said he did not become a teacher because he would want to sleep with pupils.
Miss Burchill then claimed Ms Sarkar’s reverence of the Prophet was the ‘worship of a paedophile’, referring to the 7th-Century leader’s marriage to his third wife when she was around 10, and that she was an ‘Islamist’ and a ‘hypocrite’.
Miss Burchill also ‘liked’ posts which said Ms Sarkar should kill herself and even suggested that she was a victim of female genital mutilation.
Ms Sarkar brought defamation complaints, claiming they played into ‘damaging tropes of anti-Muslim hate’.
In a statement in March this year, Miss Burchill said she accepted that her statements were ‘defamatory of Ms Sarkar and caused her very substantial distress’ and agreed not to contact her directly except for legal reasons.