Thursday, May 23, 2024

Why Have Meghan and Harry’s Public Relations Gone Sideways? Simple: They Fired the Pro’s to Save Money, Now They’re Out in the Cold


It was back in October 2022 that the story broke. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, whose personal PR was always shaky, had fired the professionals who were repping them.

That meant Keleigh Thomas Morgan, partner in Ken Sunshine’s veteran and well traveled company, was out. So was the Hollywood and political network that came with Sunshine Sachs including Leonardo diCaprio, Barbra Streisand, and Ben Affleck. The company also has deep ties with all top Democrats including the Obamas and the Clintons.

The Sussexes decided to move their PR “in house.” Why? Just cheaper, really. They appointed Christine Schwirmer, whose wheel house was Silicon Valley and not Hollywood or politics, to run the show.

What’s happened? The whole thing has gone sideways? The Sussexes not only lost their deal with SiriusXM, but nearly every media outlet in the world has declared them “in decline,” a “Flop,” and so on. It doesn’t matter if it’s true. They may be loaded, for all we know. But the optics are bad. From Oprah to the Harry book, to the Queen’s funeral, and Charles’s coronation, it’s all gone wrong. People magazine and Rolling Stone have jumped on the “flop era” idea, with the UK Press hot to quote them.

Markle, who clearly calls the shots, made a big mistake here. The biggest attraction of a PR company like Sunshine Sachs — Rogers & CowanPMK, ID PR, and so on — has its leverage and ability to network its clients. By isolating herself, Markle lost that clout. Even Oprah isn’t sticking up for the royal couple now. This is, what we like to say, a “Shit show.”

The Markles — er, the Sussexes — need a crisis counselor right away. If they’re smart they’ll go crown in hand back to Sunshine Sachs and get the experts back on board. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long road back into the good graces of the public.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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