Meghan Markle has reportedly cut ties with her closest friend, Jessica Mulroney, following her firing from her TV presenting role after becoming caught up in a "white privilege" argument with a black Canadian lifestyle blogger.
Mulroney, 40, was called out directly in an Instagram video shared by Sasha 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."
Markle is reportedly "absolutely mortified" with Mulroney's "tone-deaf" threats and has cast her adrift.
A friend told the Daily Mail: "'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."
"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," they added.
Meanwhile, 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."
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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Canadian department store Hudson's Bay also revealed she would no longer represent the brand as a fashion and bridal specialist.
Mulroney's sacking came just hours after she shared a statement on Instagram apologising for her behaviour.
"As some of you may have seen, @sashaexeter and I had a disagreement," the stylist wrote. "She rightfully called me out for not doing enough when it came to engaging in the important and difficult conversation around race and injustice in our society. I took it personally and that was wrong. I know I need to do better. Those of us with a platform must use it to speak out.
"I want to say from my heart that every word of my apologies to Sasha over the course of the last two weeks privately, and again both publicly and privately today is true," she said. "I did not intend in any way to jeopardise her livelihood. We had a disagreement and it got out of hand. For that I am sorry."
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.
The former athlete 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.
"You are right when you say 'this sh*t needs to stop,'" she wrote.
"As leaders, we need to join hands and call out wrongs. I know we have different experiences. And that is something that, even in the course of a heated argument, I need to acknowledge and understand. I am unequivocally sorry for not doing that with you, and for any hurt I caused."
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).
She wrote over the screenshot: "After her public apology on my post yesterday, I received this via DM. Please take in the time stamp in green on the top left of the screen.
"Also, poor thing didn't even spell 'libel' correctly."
-Additional reporting, NZ Herald