A record-breaking 17.1 million viewers tuned into Sunday’s two-hour TV special, according to Nielsen ratings cited by CBS. “Oprah with Meghan and Harry” garnered CBS the largest prime-time audience for any entertainment special since last year’s Academy Awards.
The much-buzzed-about program also drew huge crowds online, with Sunday’s interview getting 12 billion potential impressions. CBS said it was the network’s most-live-streamed event outside of NFL games.
The revelation-heavy TV spectacle made headlines and sent shockwaves worldwide, as the former Meghan Markle and her husband, the sixth in line to the British throne, opened up about their reasons for leaving the United Kingdom for California and stepping away from their duties as full-time working royals.
Meghan, the first mixed race member of the royal family, told Winfrey that conversations about the color of her then-unborn child’s skin were had by those at Buckingham Palace. The California-born former “Suits” actor also claimed, in what she described as a break with protocol, that her son, Archie, wouldn’t receive a royal title or security detail.
“I just didn’t want to be alive anymore,” Meghan, 39, told Winfrey. “And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.”
Prince Harry said during the sit-down that he felt “trapped” being in his famous family.
“I didn’t see a way out,” he said.
Meghan said that, amid scorching media scrutiny, she had suicidal thoughts after marrying Prince Harry in 2018, and that the royal family didn’t give her access to mental health resources.
Buckingham Palace issued a statement regarding the explosive interview.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” said a statement from the Palace. “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members,” the statement concluded.
The statement comes after the royals faced some criticism over their silence on the matter following the interview’s broadcast in the U.S. on Sunday and the U.K. on Monday.
Twitter Doubles Down on Misleading COVID Vaccine Info
Twitter has begun labeling tweets that include misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines and using a “strike system” to eventually remove accounts that repeatedly violate its rules.
The company said Monday that it has started using human reviewers to assess whether tweets violate its policy against COVID vaccine misinformation. Eventually, the work will be done by a combination of humans and automation, it said.
Twitter had already banned some COVID-related misinformation in December, including falsehoods about how the virus spreads, whether masks are effective and the risk of infection and death.
“Through the use of the strike system, we hope to educate people on why certain content breaks our rules, so they have the opportunity to further consider their behavior and their impact on the public conversation,” Twitter said in a blog post.
People with one violation — or strike — will see no action. Two strikes will lead to an account being locked for 12 hours. Five or more will get a user permanently banned from Twitter.
Facebook has also stepped up its vaccine misinformation fight after years of half-hearted enforcement. It announced an expanded policy last month that includes all vaccines – not just those against COVID-19.
San Francisco-based Twitter said the new labels only apply to COVID vaccines, not others.
Language Matters While Communicating About Coronavirus Vaccines
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the country, the words that communicators use might influence public willingness to be vaccinated, a new study from nonprofit insurer EmblemHealth has found.
The study reveals the importance of terminology and how it affects Americans’ openness to receive immunizations and vaccinations. The study found that people generally understand the difference between the terms “shot,” “vaccination” and “immunization,” with the latter two being the preferred terms across all groups – a finding that has broad implications for communications strategies as government agencies, health plans, employers and consumer groups disseminate information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The record-breaking development of several promising new vaccinations by researchers comes at a time when communities throughout the United States are experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
“The health care industry is at a crucial crossroads in the pandemic, with an opportunity to vaccinate millions of Americans over the next few months,” said Beth Leonard, EmblemHealth’s chief corporate affairs officer. “We hope this research will not only contribute to how stakeholders drive COVID-19 vaccine adoption, but also how we communicate about immunizations and vaccinations in the future.”
Consumers generally understood that “vaccination” is a process intended to produce immunity to a disease or virus, whereas “immunizations” provide that protection, in both cases through the formation of antibodies. In medical contexts, EmblemHealth found, the public generally understands “shot” as a mechanism for administering vaccinations, but the word can have negative associations.
Whopper Mic: Burger King Grills its Image w/International Women’s Day Misstep
Burger King got into a sho nuff PR pickle this week!
The famous burger chain’s latest attempt at cheeky, irreverent humor backfired when a tweet on International Women’s Day spoofed everyday sexism.
The now-deleted risky line “Women belong in the kitchen” was meant to spark a conversation about professional chefs, not a firestorm.
The misstep went too playful with social media marketing, especially when many viewers see messages in isolation, and not as part of a broader campaign.
Burger King saw more than 251,000 mentions before midday on Monday, nearly as many as the 323,000 mentions it has seen in the past two weeks with sentiment skewing towards negative.” And on Monday evening, the brand deleted the offending tweet altogether.
It’s not the first time a Burger King campaign has raised hackles, like a showcase last year of shuttered restaurants and intrusive sponsorships of Twitch streamers. Like those brief scandals, this one will blow over quickly, but perhaps brands can focus on the takeaway: Don’t joke about discriminatory practices. They’re too real for too many people.
Burger King apologized for its International Women’s Day campaign touting a scholarship fund for female chefs with the message which was touted as promoting the Burger King H.E.R. (Helping Equalize Restaurants) Scholarship, which, according to the chain, “has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships to support female team members in achieving their educational goals.”
For now, Burger King’s reputation has taken on a char-grilled hue!
Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!