Prince Harry has received backlash for comments he made about the Capitol Hill riot in the US, slamming social media and branding the incident “violent extremism.”
Speaking over the weekend, the Duke of Sussex made a statement that included criticism of social media. He labeled the January 6 Capitol Hill riot — which left five people dead — as “violent extremism.”
Queen Elizabeth II‘s grandson said: “We have seen time and again what happens when the real-world cost of misinformation is disregarded. There is no way to downplay this. There was a literal attack on democracy in the United States, organized on social media, which is an issue of violent extremism.”
He blamed social media for the deadly attack by saying: “It is widely acknowledged that social media played a role in the genocide in Myanmar and was used as a vehicle to incite violence against the Rohingya people, which is a human rights issue. And in Brazil, social media provided a conduit for misinformation which ultimately brought destruction to the Amazon, which is an environmental and global health issue.”
In the past, Prince Harry, 36, has joined his wife, Meghan Markle, 39, in commenting on a range of issues — including mental health, loneliness, and community support during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the couple has also been accused of going too far and getting involved with US politics at times.
This is the first time that Prince Harry has spoken alone without Meghan Markle about an issue that affects the US and carries political sensitivities.
In a poll conducted on January 23 by a news outlet, 83% of readers thought Prince Harry was wrong to make a comment about the riots earlier this month, while 16% supported his actions and 1% were not sure whether they agreed or not.
Prince Harry’s comments came just days after Joe Biden‘s inaugural ceremony, where he was sworn in as the next US President.
On social media, people shared more about their reasons for believing Prince Harry should not have spoken about the Capitol riots.
One person said the US is already polarized enough without more division, while others believed the Duke of Sussex should not comment on issues that are politically sensitive, and he should “stop interfering” in politics.
One jokingly questioned whether Prince Harry was looking for citizenship in the US, while some criticized him for choosing when to speak out about certain issues — drawing comparisons with violence by some people last year in support of Black Lives Matter protests.