The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo sparked online outrage after its latest cover evoked memories of the death of George Floyd. The controversial cover depicted a cartoon caricature of Queen Elizabeth II pressing her knee into the neck of Meghan Markle, which was labeled as “hate speech,” and lambasted as being “offensive” and “racist.”
The front page of the provocative newspaper parodies the death of George Floyd, where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was caught kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The Charlie Hebdo cover satirizes the death of Floyd with a visual comparison to the split of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with the royal family.
The headline on the cartoon reads: “Why Meghan left Buckingham Palace.” There is a dialogue bubble from Meghan, saying, “Because I couldn’t breathe anymore,” a reference to the May 25 video of Floyd, where he is heard saying, “I can’t breathe” over 20 times.
French magazine Charlie Hebdo mocks George Floyd’s murder and Meghan’s racism concerns. The cover reads: ‘Why Meghan left Buckingham Palace’, ‘Because I couldn’t breathe’. pic.twitter.com/3Fuj789xn7
— Nadine White (@Nadine_Writes) March 13, 2021
The controversial illustration was relentlessly chastised online by furious commenters, who racked up thousands of likes and retweets for their outrage.
One Twitter user declared, “Charlie Hebdo is a racist rag and has been for a very long time. Saying it does not mean condoning the 2015 attacks or being against free speech. It simply means being against racism. Ignoring it is being complicit and plays right in the hands of all those who seek to divide us.”
NBA basketball player Enes Kanter castigated the paper, “Shame on @Charlie_Hebdo_ for promoting Racism, Xenophobia, Islamophobia and Sexism. They make millions while making light of oppression and injustice all for a punchline. This is disgusting. Racism is NOT free speech. ITS HATE SPEECH AND TERRORISM!”
One tweet read, “Charlie Hebdo is a disgusting newspaper that promotes Racism, Xenophobia, Islamophobia and sexism. For years it has made fun of many serious social issues that exists in the world, whilst making millions of dollars. We need to call them out for this Bulls***.”
Another commenter ranted, “Creating a culture of hate is terrorism. STOP NORMALIZING RACISM AS FREE SPEECH! Racism is NOT free speech. ITS HATE SPEECH AND TERRORISM! It’s only white people I see defending racism under free speech and blatantly racist publications like Charlie Hebdo.”
Another said the cartoon was “absolutely disgusting.”
One person said, “I feel sick” after seeing the Charlie Hebdo cover.
Some people were so enraged by the cartoon that they referred to and attempted to justify the 2015 massacre that happened at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris that killed 17 and injured 11 others. Radical Islamic terrorists slaughtered the employees of the newspaper because of a satirical image of the Prophet Mohammed.
There were a few commenters who defended Charlie Hebdo’s cover as free speech.
One commenter said, “I remember when people were defending Charlie Hebdo after people their were murdered for free speech.”
“Charlie Hebdo has more than earned the right to say what it likes in the way it likes, and through the blood of their staff remains the rights of ourselves to freely criticize them in turn. But not to shut them down or shut them up. If you don’t like it, don’t RT it,” one person wrote on Twitter.
Another Twitter user said, “BREAKING: Charlie Hebdo, a magazine famous for offensive cartoon covers, does an offensive cartoon cover.”