SussexSquad v The Firm: Why Harry and Meghan are winning the PR war in America

If you want to know what America is thinking there is no better place to look than The View, the country's top-rated daytime talk show, where a high-profile group of women discuss the watercooler topics of the day. This week, the ladies of The View have been united. They are, as one put it, "in Team Meghan". Or, "Duchess Meghan Markle" as Whoopi Goldberg, one of the co-hosts, calls her. "We can't ignore the elephant in the room," declared Meghan McCain, another co-host and daughter of the late John McCain. "There's probably a racial angle to this. There's a lot of racism directed at this woman [the Duchess] in a lot of different ways. She threatens a lot of people in the [British] patriarchy." Ms McCain said allegations that the Duchess bullied her staff in London were "ridiculous" and a "very obvious oppo dump" by Buckingham Palace ahead of the Sussexes two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey, to be broadcast on March 7 in the US and March 8 in the UK.  According to Sunny Hostin, another co-cost, the Duke had "removed his wife and family from England because of the terrible racial hatred she was subjected to". The British press were "lying for a buck", added co-host Joy Behar, going on to compare the situation to the John Grisham novel 'The Firm'. "In that movie they will kill you," she said. "In the British monarchy they will just make your life miserable. Look what happened to Diana, same thing." The opinions expressed on The View both feed and mirror those held by millions of viewers. If the Duchess was ever to doubt the depth of her support in the United States she need only tune in. Similar conversations are going on in living rooms from Ohio to Alabama. Since the Duchess referred to the Royal family as 'The Firm' so do many Americans, and so does the US press. The Duke's recent appearance on James Corden's chat show was widely regarded as a big hit. On CNN a host declared that the Sussexes were "winning the PR war" against the palace. Their popularity is also booming on social media, where the Duchess in particular has an army of American fans. Anyone in the US with a passing interest in the "Megxit" saga will have recently seen on their phone a video of the couple titled "The most attentive husband". It shows various occasions on which the Duke has helped brush down his wife's windblown hair, or adjusted her ponytail. The video, helped along by a "like" from Rihanna, has been watched an astonishing 36.3million times, more than any television event in the UK ever. Another video, which has been watched 9.2million times, shows the Duchess surprising a fan in 2016. She was being interviewed on stage in 2016 and walked off into the audience to hug, and deliver a letter, to the fan who had contacted her on Twitter. "Don’t forget Meghan did this," the caption says. "This is the kind of person she is." The videos were produced by the SussexSquad, a group of "superfans," many of whom began following the Duchess during her acting career. As tensions between the palace and the Sussexes intensified ahead of the interview, colleagues from "Suits", the legal drama she starred in, launched a coordinated defence of the Duchess's character. Aaron Korsh, the creator of Suits, suggested the bullying allegations amounted to nothing more than sending late-night emails. He said: "Meghan Markle is not a monster. She’s a strong woman with a kind heart who’s trying to make her way in an unimaginable situation. "I don’t know the specifics of some incident from years ago but if late-night emails makes you a horrible person, then I’m going to hell 50 times over." In a lengthy diatribe Patrick J Adams, the Duchess's co-star for nearly a decade in "Suits," called the Royal family "apparently bankrupt of decency". He said: "It’s OBSCENE that the Royal family, who’s newest member is currently GROWING INSIDE OF HER, is promoting and amplifying accusations of 'bullying' against a woman who herself was basically forced to flee the UK in order protect her family and her own mental health. "Find someone else to admonish, berate and torment. My friend Meghan is way out of your league." Mr Adams said the Royal family appeared to be "at best complicated" and "at worst, seemingly archaic and toxic". He added: "It sickened me to read the endless racist, slanderous, click-baiting vitriol spewed in her direction from all manner of media across the UK." Even after the birth of the couple's first child "the hunt continued" against a woman who was "kind, cooperative, giving, joyful," he added. For some, anger appeared to boil over. One TV anchor tweeted: "The Brits better leave Meghan Markle alone. We know where they live." Another TV anchor added: "I've been on the other side of the 'Firm’s' wrath as a reporter. The ruthlessness is real." The interview will be a money-spinner and ratings bonanza for both Ms Winfrey and CBS, which won out over NBC, ABC and Disney to do a deal with the chat show host. The network was reported to ha

SussexSquad v The Firm: Why Harry and Meghan are winning the PR war in America

If you want to know what America is thinking there is no better place to look than The View, the country's top-rated daytime talk show, where a high-profile group of women discuss the watercooler topics of the day.

This week, the ladies of The View have been united. They are, as one put it, "in Team Meghan". Or, "Duchess Meghan Markle" as Whoopi Goldberg, one of the co-hosts, calls her.

"We can't ignore the elephant in the room," declared Meghan McCain, another co-host and daughter of the late John McCain. "There's probably a racial angle to this. There's a lot of racism directed at this woman [the Duchess] in a lot of different ways. She threatens a lot of people in the [British] patriarchy."

Ms McCain said allegations that the Duchess bullied her staff in London were "ridiculous" and a "very obvious oppo dump" by Buckingham Palace ahead of the Sussexes two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey, to be broadcast on March 7 in the US and March 8 in the UK. 

According to Sunny Hostin, another co-cost, the Duke had "removed his wife and family from England because of the terrible racial hatred she was subjected to".

The British press were "lying for a buck", added co-host Joy Behar, going on to compare the situation to the John Grisham novel 'The Firm'. "In that movie they will kill you," she said. "In the British monarchy they will just make your life miserable. Look what happened to Diana, same thing."

The opinions expressed on The View both feed and mirror those held by millions of viewers. If the Duchess was ever to doubt the depth of her support in the United States she need only tune in. Similar conversations are going on in living rooms from Ohio to Alabama.

Since the Duchess referred to the Royal family as 'The Firm' so do many Americans, and so does the US press. The Duke's recent appearance on James Corden's chat show was widely regarded as a big hit. On CNN a host declared that the Sussexes were "winning the PR war" against the palace.

Their popularity is also booming on social media, where the Duchess in particular has an army of American fans.

Anyone in the US with a passing interest in the "Megxit" saga will have recently seen on their phone a video of the couple titled "The most attentive husband". It shows various occasions on which the Duke has helped brush down his wife's windblown hair, or adjusted her ponytail.

The video, helped along by a "like" from Rihanna, has been watched an astonishing 36.3million times, more than any television event in the UK ever.

Another video, which has been watched 9.2million times, shows the Duchess surprising a fan in 2016. She was being interviewed on stage in 2016 and walked off into the audience to hug, and deliver a letter, to the fan who had contacted her on Twitter. "Don’t forget Meghan did this," the caption says. "This is the kind of person she is."

The videos were produced by the SussexSquad, a group of "superfans," many of whom began following the Duchess during her acting career. As tensions between the palace and the Sussexes intensified ahead of the interview, colleagues from "Suits", the legal drama she starred in, launched a coordinated defence of the Duchess's character.

Aaron Korsh, the creator of Suits, suggested the bullying allegations amounted to nothing more than sending late-night emails. He said: "Meghan Markle is not a monster. She’s a strong woman with a kind heart who’s trying to make her way in an unimaginable situation.

"I don’t know the specifics of some incident from years ago but if late-night emails makes you a horrible person, then I’m going to hell 50 times over."

In a lengthy diatribe Patrick J Adams, the Duchess's co-star for nearly a decade in "Suits," called the Royal family "apparently bankrupt of decency".

He said: "It’s OBSCENE that the Royal family, who’s newest member is currently GROWING INSIDE OF HER, is promoting and amplifying accusations of 'bullying' against a woman who herself was basically forced to flee the UK in order protect her family and her own mental health.

"Find someone else to admonish, berate and torment. My friend Meghan is way out of your league."

Mr Adams said the Royal family appeared to be "at best complicated" and "at worst, seemingly archaic and toxic". He added: "It sickened me to read the endless racist, slanderous, click-baiting vitriol spewed in her direction from all manner of media across the UK."

Even after the birth of the couple's first child "the hunt continued" against a woman who was "kind, cooperative, giving, joyful," he added.

For some, anger appeared to boil over. One TV anchor tweeted: "The Brits better leave Meghan Markle alone. We know where they live." Another TV anchor added: "I've been on the other side of the 'Firm’s' wrath as a reporter. The ruthlessness is real."

The interview will be a money-spinner and ratings bonanza for both Ms Winfrey and CBS, which won out over NBC, ABC and Disney to do a deal with the chat show host. The network was reported to have paid between $7million and $9million to Ms Winfrey's Harpo Productions company for the rights to broadcast it.

CBS also bought the rights to license the footage abroad, which has included selling it on to ITV in the UK, and to other broadcasters around the world. None of the vast amount of money being generated is going to the Duke and Duchess. CBS has been charging up to $325,000 for a 30-second advert during the interview, which is double the usual amount for a Sunday evening.

Last Sunday, the network attracted around 3.4 million viewers in the same time slot for two episodes of crime drama NCIS. Suggestions that CBS has been charging "Super Bowl" fees for adverts are inaccurate. A 30-second slot for the Super Bowl - which attracts around 100 million viewers - costs over $5 million. However, the show has been extended from 90 minutes to two hours to capitalise on advertising revenue.

Ms Winfrey has links with CBS, including through her long-time best friend Gayle King, who hosts its flagship CBS This Morning show. Like the ladies of The View, Ms King is firmly on "Team Meghan" and on Friday told her millions of viewers that the Duchess had been "vilified".

She said: "'Vilified' is the word for what has happened to Harry and Meghan, Meghan in particular. I think by the time the interview is over people will have a very clear understanding about what went into their thought process. And then people can make up their own minds.

"I think it's going to be interesting for people to see their side."

Read More: What next for Prince Harry and Meghan after the Oprah interview?