US Vogue has been mocked after criticising The Daily Mail for its use of the word “niggling” in the headline of an article about Meghan Markle more than three years ago.
In a piece titled "A Brit in America Makes Sense of the Meghan Markle Oprah Interview," Hamish Bowles highlighted the UK newspaper's use of the line “a niggling worry” next to a photo of Prince Harry and Meghan's engagement.
The 57-year-old writer criticised columnist Sarah Vine for writing "Yes, they're joyfully in love. So why do I have a niggling worry about this engagement picture?" before proceeding to add that Webster's defines the word niggling as "bothersome or persistent especially in a petty or tiresome way."
"Nevertheless, the word seemed a surprising choice and jumped from the page, as presumably it was intended to," Bowles said.
Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union, compared this criticism to "claiming that a newspaper is racist because the ink it uses on its pages is black. It's just silly and absurd."
The Daily Mail responded saying that the word is so common that major outlets have used it 2,037 times already. The Mail added that The Times has used it 3,687 times, The Guardian used it 2,268 times, and US Vogue has itself used the word eight times.
Former BBC host Andrew Neil also criticised the Vogue article, claiming that the fashion magazine itself has a "shaming" history when it comes to race relations.
— Laurence Fox (@LozzaFox) March 12, 2021
Netizens also accused the Vogue writer of making an unfounded suggestion of racism against the Mail.
— PantalaimonSilvertongue (@PSilvertongue2) March 12, 2021
— SimonV (@Simon_Vogt) March 12, 2021
Others said that Vogue was intentionally causing controversy with the article.
— Mr Brad. (@Braddisms) March 12, 2021
Some supported Vogue, however, and said that the use of the word was in fact racist.
— Hope (@goodGodnews) March 12, 2021
This follows a tell-all interview with Meghan and Harry’s with Oprah Winfrey, which led to widespread controversy when the Sussexes accused the UK's Royal family of racism towards them.
Markle claimed that in "several conversations with Harry," their son Archie's skin colour was brought up.
"In the months when I was pregnant, all around the same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of he won't be given security, he's not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born," she claimed.
The former actress got engaged to Harry in 2017 and they married the following year. Their son was born in 2019. Last year, the couple stepped down from their royal duties.