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'I Can't Breathe': Charlie Hebdo's 'Racist' Cartoon Shows Queen Kneeling on Meghan, Causes Outrage

Charlie Hebdo cartoon on Queen and Meghan Markle Image credit: Twitter

Charlie Hebdo cartoon on Queen and Meghan Markle Image credit: Twitter

In the cartoon, Queen Elizabeth II can be seen kneeling on Meghan's neck. The cover reads: 'Why Meghan left Buckingham Palace', 'Because I couldn't breathe. Many felt the cartoon drew a parallel with the killing of African-American George Floyd.

Days after the explosive Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry aired on television, satire magazine Charlie Hedbo is facing the wrath of the readers in the United Kingdom for a caricature of the Queen.

In the cartoon, Queen Elizabeth II can be seen kneeling on Meghan’s neck. The cover reads: ‘Why Meghan left Buckingham Palace’, ‘Because I couldn’t breathe. Many felt the cartoon drew a parallel with the killing of African-American Minnesota resident George Floyd who was killed by a cop who kneeled on his neck. His last words were, “I can’t breathe".

Like many caricatures by the French satirist, this one too caused outrage. Many slammed Hebdo for the cartoon being in poor taste and making light of the Geroge Floyd, which led to widespread protests against systemic racism across the world last year.

While deeming the cartoon insensitive, yet others critiqued the critics who had supported Charlie Hebdo when it caricatured Prophet Mohammad but was calling out the publication now that the Queen was on it.

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The cartoon comes days after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry accused the royal family of racism during an interview with American talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

Charlie Hebdo was in news last year after after it republished a series of controversial cartoons of Prophet Mohammad. The move came in the week leading up to the trial of the 2015 shootings at the newspaper’s headquarters in Paris.

It all started when a series of 12 cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammad in various offensive positions first published by the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in 2005 — and then reprinted by Charlie Hebdo — the French satirist weekly, known for its rebellious, anti-establishment art- in 2006. One of the cartoons featured the Prophet wearing a bomb on his head with the words ‘All of that for this’ as the headline in French. The cartoons unleashed a storm of anger across the Muslim world, culminating in an attack on the paper’s employees in 2015. Cartoonist Jean Cabut, known as Cabu, was one of the 12 who lost their lives in the massacre. Critics of the Hebdo, however, slammed the magazine for promoting anti-Islamic imagery and stereotypes.

first published:March 14, 2021, 16:56 IST