Meghan Markle has been accused of faking several interviews for her axed Archetypes podcast by industry ‘sources’ who claim that the Duchess had staff members on the show conduct interviews with her guests before audio of her voice was edited into the final episodes.
The allegations, which come just days after it was revealed the Sussexes’ $20 million deal with Spotify had ended in a ‘mutual agreement’, were reported by podcast-focused outlet Podnews.
According to the site, ‘multiple sources’ have claimed that ‘some interviews on the show were done by other staffers, with questions edited-in afterwards’, although Podnews did not highlight any specific episodes where this might have applied.
Meghan’s 12-episode podcast featured a series of high-profile guests during its one-season run, including Mariah Carey, Serena Williams, and Mindy Kaling, the latter of whom actually shared an image of herself being interviewed by the Duchess when her episode aired.
However, while Meghan may have interviewed several very high-profile guests for the audio show, this is not the first time that questions have been raised about her input into the interview process for other people who appeared on Archetypes. In August last year, podcast guest Allison Yarrow, a journalist from New York, revealed that she didn’t actually speak to Meghan when being interviewed for the show, but rather a member of her production company.
Allison, who appeared on an episode of the show called To ‘B’ or not to ‘B’? in which she ‘explored the origin and plague’ of the word b***h, revealed in a social media post shared shortly after her interview was recorded that the chat had taken place with an audio producer called Farrah Safarfi.
Sharing an image of herself in front of a sign for Gimlet, an audio production company, Allison then thanks Farrah in the caption for being such an ‘excellent interviewer’.
Last week, Spotify and the Sussexes’ audio production company, Archewell Audio, issued a joint statement about the decision not to renew Meghan’s podcast for a second season, saying that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways’. The statement continued: ‘We are proud of the series we made together.’
Meghan and Harry reportedly signed a $ 20 million deal with Spotify for the project in late 2020 but insiders close to the streaming giant claimed the royal couple did not meet the productivity benchmark required to receive the full payout, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The decision to axe the Duchess’s female-focused podcast followed reports that Spotify had been engaged in discussions about renewing the series, however, those conversations are understood to have stalled.
WME, the talent agency that recently signed Meghan, told the Wall Street Journal: ‘The team behind Archetypes remain proud of the podcast they created at Spotify. Meghan is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform.’
However, one day after news of Meghan and Harry’s axed Spotify deal was made public, the streaming giant’s Head of Innovation and Monetization, Bill Simmons, spoke out to slam the Sussexes as ‘f***ing grifters’ in an episode of his own podcast. ‘The f***ing grifters. That’s the podcast we should have launched with them,’ he said.
Bill, a sportswriter who founded podcast network The Ringer and sold it to Spotify in 2020 for $200 million, went on to hit out at Harry, 38, saying that he had done a Zoom with the royal during which he says he tried to ‘help him with a podcast idea’.
‘I’ve got to get drunk one night and tell the story of the Zoom I had with Harry to try and help him with a podcast idea,’ he said. ‘It’s one of my best stories.’ Bill has long been critical of Harry, saying last January that it was ’embarrassing’ to be affiliated with the same audio company that streamed the Sussexes’ podcast.
‘Shoot this guy to the sun,’ he said, according to the sports website The Big Lead. ‘I’m so tired of this guy. What does he bring to the table? He just whines about s*** and keeps giving interviews. ‘Who gives a s***? Who cares about your life?
‘You weren’t even the favourite son. You live in f****** Montecito and you just sell documentaries and podcasts and nobody cares what you have to say about anything unless you talk about the royal family and you just complain about them.’
Spotify has recently laid off staff and scaled back big-name talent in favour of emphasizing the creator economy. The streaming giant announced it would be laying off around 200 staff members – around two per cent of its workforce – who work within their podcast teams. It cited difficulties in making podcasts profitable, despite its popularity among listeners.
However, Meghan is understood to be eager to continue creating her podcast and is said to be looking for a new home for the series. The mother-of-two is also said to be working on several other projects, with rumours swirling that she is set to revive her wellness and lifestyle website The Tig, while it’s also been reported in recent days that Meghan could soon sign on as the newest face of high-end fashion and beauty brand Dior.