Vogue editor Edward Enninful condemns ‘racist’ attacks on Meghan Markle

Olivia Petter
Getty Images for Pride in London

Edward Enninful has spoken out about the criticism aimed at the Duchess of Sussex following the publication of the September issue of British Vogue, which she guest edited.

In August, it was revealed the two had collaborated on the special edition of the magazine, which featured a grid of 15 women selected as “Forces for Change” on the cover and articles inside that had been commissioned by Meghan.

The response was largely positive, but some people criticised Meghan’s choice of women, which did not include the Queen, and questioned whether or not a member of the royal family should edit a magazine, despite several others having done so before.

Speaking to the The Guardian, Enninful, who was appointed editor of British Vogue in 2017, said some of the hostility towards Meghan and her issue of the magazine stems from racism.

“Was the criticism racist? Some of it, yeah,” he said. “Actually it was more than racism. I thought it was personal – attacking someone you don’t know, attacking her.”

Enninful’s appointment came after British Vogue faced scrutiny for not being diverse enough. After it was announced that he would be taking over from Alexandra Shulman, who had been editor of the publication for 25 years, Naomi Campbell posted a photograph of Shulman’s editorial team on Instagram and pointed out that there were no black people in the picture.

“This is the staff photo of @britishvogue under the previous editor #AlexandraSchulman”, the supermodel wrote. “Looking forward to an inclusive and diverse staff now that @edward_enninful is the editor… let’s hear your thoughts?”.

In the Guardian interview, Enninful explained how greater representation drives his vision for British Vogue, whose recent cover stars include Rihanna, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Halima Aden, who was the first model to wear a hijab on the cover of the title.

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“My work always involves documenting what’s around me, and to keep normalising the marginalised,” Enninful said.

“Every month I can put my hand on my heart and say it’s all there: the black woman, the curvy woman, the Asian woman. We don’t even think about it.”

Speaking about previous criticisms about Vogue’s lack of diversity, Enninful said it “really bothered” him that the publication was seen in this way.

“Why shouldn’t [Vogue] be for everyone?” he said. “Why shouldn’t a woman who is black, or Muslim, or gay, or a refugee, or plus-size, see themselves reflected in what we do? Our job is simple: to keep moving the needle.”