French magazine Charlie Hebdo caused social media outrage Saturday over its front-page drawing of Queen Elizabeth II kneeling on the neck of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
A caption on the drawing translates to “Why Meghan left Buckingham.” A quote bubble near Meghan’s head reads, “because I couldn’t breathe anymore.”
In the photo, shared on the magazine’s Twitter account, a menacing-looking Queen Elizabeth II pins Meghan down with her knee. The image is a cartoon recreation of George Floyd’s death when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during a May 25 arrest.
Derek Chauvin was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department and will soon face trial for murder and manslaughter charges. Three other former officers involved in the arrest are expected to go to trial in August.
Social media users slammed Charlie Hebdo over the drawing, with some calling it racist.
“Words cannot describe just how disgusting I found that Charlie Hebdo cover. Punching down and constantly drawing racist caricatures it’s not satire. It’s called being a d—,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Charlie Hebdo is a disgusting newspaper that promotes Racism, Xenophobia, Islamophobia and sexism. For years it has made fun of many serious social issues that exists in the world, whilst making millions of dollars,” another posted.
One user said the cover was “absolutely disgusting.”
A few people, however, seemed to defend the publication. One person wrote that the magazine describes itself as a satire publication and is known for its offensive covers.
“Anyone with a brain knows that ALL @Charlie_Hebdo_ covers are *intentionally* provocative. That’s their raison d’être. It’s called satire,” the tweet read.
Charlie Hebdo has not publicly responded to the criticism and did not immediately return a request for comment on Saturday.
The drawing comes nearly a week after Prince Harry and Meghan sat down with Oprah Winfrey for an explosive interview detailing their reasons for exiting royal life.
Among the issues, Meghan said that royal insiders had expressed “concerns” about how dark the couple’s children might be. Meghan and Prince Harry welcomed their first child together, Archie, in May 2019, and are expecting their second baby this summer.
The couple declined to name the individual who made the alleged comments, but Winfrey later said that Harry had made clear it was neither Queen Elizabeth II, his grandmother, nor her husband, Prince Philip.
Prince William denied the allegations against the royal family, saying, “We’re very much not a racist family.”
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.