BBC Apologizes to Prince Harry for Publishing Neo-Nazi 'Race Traitor' Image That Encouraged His Murder

The BBC has apologized to Prince Harry after it published a neo-Nazi propaganda image depicting the Duke of Sussex being shot and describing him as a "race traitor."

The image appeared online and during a news broadcast as part of an investigation from the BBC into the far-right group Sonnenkrieg Division.

The article from December 5, 2018, entitled "British neo-Nazis suggest Prince Harry should be shot" contained an image created by the group showing the Duke of Sussex with a gun pointing at his head, splattered blood, a swastika and the words "see ya later race traitor"—a racist reference to his marriage to Meghan Markle.

Earlier this year, British broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said the BBC was right in its decision to include the image as it was vital for the investigation to expose the neo-Nazi group's "shocking actions to readers and raising public awareness of its extremist views."

The BBC said the image was in the public interest as it showed the "abhorrent nature" of Sonnenkrieg Division.

The day the article was published, the BBC updated it to reduce the size of the image and issue a warning for viewers. The image was removed entirely by December 7 as public interest in the story had wavered.

The BBC has now formally apologized in a letter to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for not warning them in advance that the image would be shown.

A spokesperson for Prince Harry told The Guardian that seeing the neo-Nazi image "caused his family great distress specifically while his wife was nearly five months pregnant."

The spokesperson added: "His Royal Highness raised the issue with Ofcom about the rebroadcasting of this racist image due to his concerns that hateful and dangerous propaganda had been spread globally by the world's most important public service broadcaster. Due to the credibility of the BBC, their choice to publicize this material created an open door for all other media to reproduce it.

"His Royal Highness maintains that instead of reproducing the image and giving a platform to something that would have only been seen by a few, it should have been described so that others would not potentially be influenced by such an inflammatory image," the spokesperson said.

It has since been revealed that Prince Harry was the only person to complain to Ofcom about the inclusion of the image, which launched the review.

In June, two men were arrested for terrorism offenses as a result of the BBC investigation.

Michal Szewczuk, 19, from Leeds, has since been jailed for four years and three months after pleading guilty to two counts of encouraging terrorism and five counts of possessing material likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, 18, from London, was also handed an 18-month prison sentence after he admitted two counts of encouraging terrorism.

Discussing the image and subsequent apology, a BBC source told Newsweek: "This was an important piece of journalism which led to the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of two members of a neo-Nazi group.

"The image of The Duke of Sussex was included to show the abhorrent nature of their behavior and Ofcom has subsequently concluded that there was a clear editorial rationale for using the image which, in the context of the news report, was considered unlikely to incite crime.

"Naturally we regret the distress caused and we apologized for failing to warn Kensington Palace in advance that it was to be published."

Prince Harry
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend "The Lion King" European Premiere at Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England. The BBC has apologised for failing to warn the Duke of Sussex they would broadcast a neo-Nazi image with a gun pointing at his head. Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty