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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry face questions over deal with Procter & Gamble as it sells ‘racist’ skin whitening cream

MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry are facing questions over their deal with Procter & Gamble as it sells what campaigners say is a "racist" skin-whitening cream.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archewell Foundation announced the multi-year "global partnership" with the US consumer goods giant earlier this week.

The deal has brought to light P&G's sale of skin-lightening creams in Africa and Asia.

The creams reduce the production of melanin - the pigment that creates colour - in users' skin.

Campaigners have criticised the products for creating a "toxic belief" that a "person's worth is measured by the colour of their skin".

P&G brand Olay sells White Radiance moisturiser in India, Malaysia and Singapore, the Mail on Sunday reported.

The product is said to create "radiant and brighter skin" while lightening the tone.

The company sells Olay White Radiance Light Perfecting Essence in the Philippines, with the product promising to "inhibit melanin formation in the deepest layer of skin".

While in Nigeria, people can buy Olay Natural White cream, which creates "pinkish fairness".

Former P&G executive Alex Malouf said Meghan and Harry would face pressure to say whether or not they supported the sale of these products.

He said: "Meghan has talked a lot about the issue of race and racism, so this does stick out like a sore thumb."

The skin-lightening industry is worth around £6 billion a year.

Cosmetic firms have faced pressure to stop selling skin-lightening creams amid claims they are racist.

Johnson & Johnson dropped its "Fine Fairness" line, which was sold in Asia and the Middle East, after an investigation.

Meanwhile L'Oreal has announced it will stop using the names "white/whitening", "fair/fairness" and "light/lightening" from its products, and Unilever will rename its "Fair & Lovely" brand, which is popular in India.

However P&G has promised to continue selling its White Radiance and Natural White products.

Olay has defended them by comparing the creams to tanners or make-ups.


Campaigners calling on P&G to stop selling skin-whitening products include Nina Davuluri, 32, the first Indian-American to win Miss America.

She said the creams sold a "racist" ideology "that you need white skin to be beautiful, you need white skin to be successful".

Ms Davuluri said she was shocked that P&G were still selling the creams.

San Jose State University Professor Joanne Rondilla, who has researched skin-lightening creams being sold in the Philippines, said Harry and Meghan had a "responsibility" to speak out about the products.

She said: "Like everyone else around the world, I saw that interview with Oprah that Meghan did.

"It was important for her to bring up these issues of colourism. I don't think this partnership advances that conversation."

Robin Averbeck, from the Rainforest Action Network, said Harry and Meghan should end their relationship with P&G.

He said: "The fact that P&G has continued to be complicit in human rights abuses, in environmental devastation, is reason enough why this partnership shouldn't be formed or shouldn't continue.

"It showed that full due diligence on the company was not done."

The Sun Online has contacted P&G and the Sussexes for comment.

It was important for her to bring up these issues of colourism. I don't think this partnership advances that conversation

Professor Joanne Rondilla

The deal with P&G came 28 years after the Duchess complained about the company's "very sexist" advert.

When she was 11, Meghan wrote to Procter & Gamble to object to sexism in a dish soap commercial which included the line: “Mothers around America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”

She appeared in an interview with Nick News in 1993 to talk about her campaign, saying she was “furious” at the advert for P&G’s Ivory Clear.

Meghan added: “When they heard this, the boys in my class started saying, ‘Yeah, that’s where women belong – in the kitchen’.”

Resurfaced footage shows the Duchess asking them to change the advert to “people all over America” and the company subsequently amended the language.

In announcing the partnership, the Archewell website said: “Archewell Foundation believes that with community, and through compassionate service to others, we can unleash systemic cultural change.

“In service of doing this, and building more compassionate communities, Archewell Foundation announced a multi-year global partnership today with Procter & Gamble.

"Through Archewell Foundation, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on a mission to build a more equitable and just future for women and girls.

“In this partnership, Archewell Foundation and P&G will put a priority focus on gender equity.”

The partnership will focus on the drive for “compassionate and inclusive online spaces” as well, with both Harry and Meghan speaking out about online abuse in the past.

P&G said on its own website: “We’ve also been inspired by the mission of the Archewell Foundation and its founders, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, that with community, and through compassionate service to others, we can drive systemic cultural change, benefiting everyone.”

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