Prince William Calls Out Lack of Diversity at BAFTAs and Royal Fans Make It All About Meghan Markle

Prince William gave an emotional speech at the 2020 BAFTAs, calling for more diversity at the British Academy Film Awards. As president of the academy, Prince William delivered the speech when he presented the Fellowship award to film producer Kathleen Kennedy. Some royal fans called him a hypocrite after his call for more diversity as he never defended Meghan Markle when she was harassed by racist trolls.

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the EE British Academy Film Awards 2020
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge | Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

Prince William shared his thoughts on the lack of diversity at the BAFTAs

During the BAFTA ceremony, Prince William, who has served as BAFTA president for 10 years, delivered an impassioned speech that urged the industry to expand the diversity of the award nominees.

“Catherine and I are once again really delighted to join you this evening,” he began, sharing, “Tonight we celebrate another year of exceptional filmmaking and I’m thrilled that all those involved have been recognized.”

Prince William continued: “Both here in the U.K. and in many other countries across the world we are lucky to have incredible filmmakers, actors, producers, directors and technicians — men and women from all backgrounds and ethnicities enriching our lives through film. Yet in 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process — that simply cannot be right in this day and age!”

Prince William explained the “frustration” around the issue and assured that more attention would be given to the matter. He explained: “I know that both Pippa, Chair of BAFTA, and Amanda, BAFTA CEO, share that frustration and continue to work tirelessly to ensure that creative talent is discovered and supported. BAFTA takes this issue seriously, and following this year’s nominations have launched a full and thorough review of the entire Awards process to build on their existing work and ensure that opportunities are available to everyone.”

Joaquin Phoenix also addressed the lack of diversity

During his acceptance speech for the best actor award for his role in Joker, Joaquin Phoenix spoke about the lack of diversity on the BAFTAs nominations list, noting: “I feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege. I think we send a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here.”

“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, people just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work,” the actor continued, adding, “This is not a self-righteous condemnation. I’m part of the problem.“

Phoenix added: “We have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. I think it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it. That’s on us.”

Fans bring up Meghan Markle

In response to Prince William ‘s speech, some royal fans are calling him a hypocrite, with one person noting on Twitter: “William said nothing when Meghan experienced racism. His words are empty once again, and he’s a hypocrite.”

Another fan tweeted: “William wants people to think he cares about the lack of diversity in the Bafta but, he doesn’t even care that his brother’s wife, Meghan is attacked daily by racist trolls on his own Kensington Palace Instagram and Twitter pages…”

Another critic slammed William, tweeting: “He wants to pick up the credit for something Harry exposed first. That is William for you, lives to undermine his younger brother and to mock them. This a salt added to wound so to speak. This is a mockery and disrespect for POC because we watched him did nothing for Meghan.”