Prince Harry and Meghan Markle face backlash for ‘airbrushed’ Time 100 cover

"The only effort in this pic is the person who’s photoshopped 2 different pictures together," one Twitter user said.

Loading the player...

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no strangers to controversy, but now the polarizing duo is facing backlash for gracing the cover of TIME magazine.

This year the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made TIME‘s 100 Most Influential People list, under the ‘Icons’ section. But some social media users are slamming the image chosen for looking stiff and “awkward.”

In the special issue, Harry, whose birthday was this past Wednesday, and his wife Meghan were honored by their good friend and chef José Andrés for their activism and philanthropy work.

The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Attend The Endeavour Fund Awards
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex sitting next to Ross Kemp cheer on a wedding proposal as they attend the annual Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 5, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

But despite the warmth that they are usually known for showing in the field, fans couldn’t help but speculate that the body language and blank expressions on the cover art chosen seemed off.

“The only effort in this pic is the person who’s photoshopped 2 different pictures together,” noted one person.

“Terrible retouching job. They look CGI,” agreed another user. 

“What a strange photo… it’s made to look like Harry is the same height as Meghan … is he bending over?” commented another Twitter user.

“Who approved this shot?! Is he standing? Is he sitting? Is he holding on to her shoulder so he doesn’t fall? Why would you make such lovely looking people look like this?” another Twitter user asked, echoing the confusion as to why at 6-foot-1 Harry appeared to be the same height as his beloved.

“Its like he’s cowering behind her,” one troll quipped in regarding the pose chosen.

Despite the less than stellar reactions to the photo chosen, in the accompanying essay chef Andrés, who founded the World Central Kitchen, worked with Harry and Meghan to help feed poor communities, had nothing but glowing remarks about the couple.

“They turn compassion into boots on the ground through their Archewell Foundation. They give voice to the voiceless through media production,” he explained. “Hand in hand with nonprofit partners, they take risks to help communities in need — offering mental-health support to Black women and girls in the US and feeding those affected by natural disasters in India and the Caribbean.”

He continued, “In a world where everyone has an opinion about people they don’t know, the duke and duchess have compassion for the people they don’t know. They don’t just opine. They run toward the struggle.”

This isn’t the first time the couple has faced hyper scrutiny during what should have been a celebratory moment. As we previously reported, back in August the former actress was slammed by Australian media for appearing “too smiley” in her 40th birthday video which she used as an opportunity to announce her 40×40 initiative on the Archewell website.

Although Markle and Harry topped the “Icons” section of the list, other notables also include pop star Britney Spears, country superstar Dolly Parton, tennis pro Naomi Osaka, and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...