During a visit to a charity Bristol last week, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, made what at the time seemed to be a kind and innocent gesture to the local sex workers the charity supported. However, it seems to have backfired after one local sex worker condemned the gesture as “offensive,” according to the Sun.
Last Friday, Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, visited the One25 charity in Bristol, which helps local sex workers. During the visit, Meghan was helping charity workers to put together food packages for the people they assist. While lending a hand, Meghan had the idea to write empowering messages on bananas being placed in the packages.
She duly took a black marker pen and wrote phrases like “you are special,” “you are brave,” and “you are loved” on the fruit. While doing so, she also jokingly declared herself to be “in charge of the banana messaging.”
Although some local sex workers felt that the idea was sweet, others were less than impressed. One woman, identified only as Nikki, told the Daily Mail that the messages were “offensive” and said Meghan “should be doing more” to help people like herself.
“She has the means to help us more than that,” Nikki said angrily. “It’s offensive, you know.”
But while Nikki was less than impressed with Meghan’s banana writing idea, other people who use the One25 charity were more impressed. One former sex worker named Sam said that it was “amazing that they chose to come here.”
“It is heartwarming and makes you think that these women are not forgotten. I have been away from the street and away from drugs for 13 years in April.”
She then went on to explain the impact she felt the messages would have on people still on the streets.
“I can imagine being on the van, and [someone saying] ‘Meghan wrote this,’ Sam explained. “I think they might not eat it. I think that banana would be at home until it is rotten because I would do the same.”
The One25 charity offers sex workers and former sex workers access to basic facilities such as hot showers, free clothing, and food as well as advice from professional services. It has developed a deliberately relaxed atmosphere to help the women feel comfortable and also improve their self-esteem and build the confidence to leave the streets and develop new lives.
Meghan and Harry’s visit took place under strict secrecy. Only a handful of senior charity officials knew they were coming and many sex workers who were being supported by the charity during the visit were unaware the royal couple was there.