Meghan Markle is reportedly "absolutely mortified" by her best friend Jessica Mulroney's racism scandal and is now cutting ties with her.
The Duchess of Sussex reacted with shock after hearing of the Canadian stylist's "tone-deaf" threats to sue black lifestyle blogger Sasha Exeter over an argument about white privilege, and has decided she can "no longer be associated with her".
"Meghan is absolutely mortified that she's been dragged into this complete mess. She said Jessica is in no way a racist, but the way she handled the situation was tone-deaf and heartbreaking," a friend of Meghan's told the Daily Mail.
• Meghan Markle's BFF Jessica Mulroney fired from TV show over racism argument
• Prince Harry, Meghan Markle: Why LA hasn't been the happy ending the royal craved
• Daniela Elser: Meghan Markle, Prince Harry cost the royal family $87.8 million
• Meghan Markle weighs in on Kate's war with Tatler magazine
"Meghan said friends reflect friends and because of what's at stake she can no longer be associated with Jessica, at least not in public. She has to do what she has to do in order to preserve her dignity and her own reputation."
The pair have been extremely close for years, and Mulroney's three children were even part of Meghan and Prince Harry's bridal party in 2018.
Mulroney, 40, has now been fired from her contributor role on US breakfast programme Good Morning America and had her reality show axed over the scandal.
She was called out directly in an Instagram video shared by Exeter, who claimed that the I Do, Redo host had displayed "very problematic behaviour and antics that ultimately resulted in [Mulroney] sending me a threat in writing".
Exeter captioned the clip as "my Amy Cooper experience", referencing the incident which made global headlines last month where a white woman called police on an innocent black man birdwatching in Central Park.
While the influencer said she was "by no means calling Jess a racist", the public response was very different.
As one follower wrote in the comments section: "I'm sad that you weren't able to fully use your voice in this moment to call a thing what it is: The interaction this woman had with you and her behaviour was RACIST. Period."
Exeter publicly called out Mulroney in an emotional 12-minute Instagram video on Thursday, describing how she had threatened her during an argument about "speaking up" against racism and had left her feeling "paralysed in fear".
The Toronto-based former athlete claimed that Mulroney – who is married to Ben Mulroney, son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney – had "taken offence to a very generic call to action" posted online, causing the women to engage in an argument about racism and white privilege.
Exeter then claimed that Mulroney had sent her a series of offensive messages, which ended with a threat to her livelihood.
"I have also spoken to companies and people about the way you have treated me unfairly. You think your voice matters. Well it only matters if you express it with kindness and without shaming people who are simply trying to learn. Good luck," Mulroney's message allegedly read.
Exeter accused Mulroney of "textbook white privilege".
"During the span of about a week or so, Jessica basically ticked every single box of what a white woman should absolutely not do during the biggest racial uproar in history. For her to threaten me – a single mum, a single black mum – during a racial pandemic blows my mind. The goal here is genuine, transformative change – not optical and performative bulls**t. You cannot be posting that you stand in solidarity while attempting to silence somebody via text."
Mulroney herself commented on the video to apologise, and alluded to her friendship with Meghan, who has been at the centre of racist attacks since she began dating Prince Harry in 2016.
"I am unequivocally sorry for not doing that with you and for any hurt I've caused. As I told you privately, I have lived a very public and personal experience with my closest friend where race was front and centre," she wrote.
"It was deeply educational. I learned a lot from that. I promise to continue to learn and listen on how I can use my privilege to elevate and support black voices.'"
However, Exeter then shared a screenshot on her Instagram story of a private message sent by Mulroney shortly after her public apology, which appeared to confirm her intent to sue for "liable" (sic).
Canadian network CTV confirmed on Thursday that it had axed Mulroney as her actions had conflicted with the network's "commitment to diversity and equality".
"Bell Media and CTV encourages our entire team including on-air talent to practice respect, inclusivity and allyship as we pledge to work better and more openly to listen to and amplify black voices, and not minimise them," the statement read.
"Because recent conduct by one of our shows hosts, Jessica Mulroney, conflicts with our commitment to diversity and equality, CTV has removed I Do Redo from all Bell Media channels and platforms effective immediately."
That evening, Mulroney was subsequently dropped from featuring as an expert on daytime lifestyle show CityLine.
Canadian department store Hudson's Bay also revealed she would no longer represent the brand as a fashion and bridal specialist.