When Tweets Come Home to Roost: UK Columnist Fired for Post Correlating Meghan and Harry's Baby and George Floyd

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An arrangement of UK daily newspapers photographed as an illustration on March 9, 2021.
An arrangement of UK daily newspapers photographed as an illustration on March 9, 2021.

Social media remains free of charge, but you know what else is? Shutting up. Julie Burchill, a now-former columnist for Britain’s Sunday Telegraph, learned the hard way that racism literally doesn’t pay.

In response to Sunday’s big announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had named their newborn daughter Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, Burchill thought it clever to retweet a meme mocking the couple, including the suggestion that their child’s name should be “Georgina Floydina.”

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“What a missed opportunity! They could’ve called it Georgina Floydina!” Burchill added as commentary in a screenshot captured by HuffPost before her Twitter account was deactivated.

First of all, you have to be a special kind of deplorable to call an infant “it.” But if you’re wondering what correlation there is between the Sussexes’ newborn daughter and a 46-year-old unarmed Black man murdered by a since-convicted police officer, there is none—unless, as HuffPost reminds us, you count Meghan’s mention of Floyd and other victims killed by police during a commencement address last June.

“George Floyd’s life mattered, and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered, and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know—Stephon Clark’s life mattered,” she said at the time.

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Apparently, respecting the life of the Sussexes’ baby mattered little to Burchill, who doubled down on the racism in an exchange of tweets with British Olympian-turned-attorney Joanna Toch, according to HuffPost.

“No Doria? Don’t black names matter?” Toch responded to Burchill’s initial tweet, mocking the Black Lives Matter movement and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.

Burchill said that she “was hoping for Doria Oprah, the racist rotters,” and Toch replied “Doprah?”

Toch, who has since been suspended and is under internal review by the family law firm she founded (which in turn called her comments “offensive” and “unacceptable”), initially wrote off the racism as a “joke” when confronted online.

“It was a joke and I’m sorry if it upset you,” Toch responded to one commenter. A subsequent tweet found her more contrite, if hypocritical.

“I am very sorry for the comment and what I saw as a joke,” she wrote. “I’ve fought during my professional life against racism which is abhorrent. I’m not a judge and I have children of colour and I apologize unreservedly.”

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Burchill, however, was reportedly unapologetic about the insults, a stance which no doubt contributed to her firing. As first reported by the Independent’s race correspondent Nadine White, Burchill, who goes by the name Julie Raven on Facebook, posted a rather smug and self-aggrandizing announcement of her dismissal to the app, which read:

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. I hope you can see my archive here. Onwards and upwards!

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What’s “edgy” about insulting a newborn infant and a murdered man in one breath, we don’t know. But as HuffPost further reports, this isn’t Burchill’s first time at the racist rodeo.

Burchill has been involved in a number of racist and offensive incidents over the years, including encouraging the racist abuse of Ash Sarkar, a journalist and activist, in December 2020.

Burchill accused Sarkar of worshipping a pedophile in a series of ongoing attacks that fed Islamophobic, racist and sexist harassment about Sarkar’s appearance and sex life.

It took legal action and being forced to pay Sarkar damages for Burchill to apologize. The incident reportedly also cost her a publishing deal with Little, Brown for a book on cancel culture called Welcome to the Woke Trials: How #Identity Killed Progressive Politics (h/t The Guardian). According to the Evening Standard, independent publisher Stirling picked up the book in March of this year with plans to publish it late this summer; ironically, Burchill canceled that contract after the publisher was linked to white nationalism, telling The Bookseller:

“I have always been against racism in all forms, so am terminating my contract with Stirling Publishing with immediate effect.”

Sure, /Jan/ Julie.