For an undisclosed fee, four commentators, including the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter and CNN’s royal commentator Victoria Arbiter, were interviewed by a fake news company created by the devilish duo, two days before Oprah Winfrey’s CBS programme was broadcast.
Pieters and Manners previously managed to fool Katie Hopkins into accepting a “completely fake” award following an offensive speech that saw her mock Muslims, Asian people and epilepsy sufferers.
They’ve also fooled celebrities including Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards into interviewing for a Borat film, influencers into promoting gravel, and nominating reality TV star Gemma Collins for a Nobel peace prize.
This time around, Pieters said they “wanted to see if Royal Experts were always truthful with how they report on them.”
With Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview coming me and @archiemanners wanted to see if Royal Experts were always tr… https://t.co/o5MRZy0Zxt
In the prank, the commentator and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, Ingrid Seward, referred to Meghan Markle as “an actress giving one of her great performances” - despite not having seen the interview.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said it was “not a balanced interview”, and accused Oprah of giving the couple “an easy ride” and being “totally sympathetic”.
He also said Meghan “used extremely strong language to describe her relations with members of the royal household”.
The YouTubers went on to trick the commentators into discussing fake news, such as Meghan’s supposed support for the Balham donkey sanctuary and refusal to have the coronavirus vaccine.
When Pieters shared a link to the YouTube spoof on his Twitter, there was shock and outrage.
One person wrote: “Just watched this and I’m livid! How in God’s name are they allowed to get away with character assassination of #MeghanMarkle? There must be real consequences for this fraud. No media outlet should be able to trust them to an audience a trustworthy analysis. #OprahMeghanHarry”.
@joshua_pieters @archiemanners Just watched this and I'm livid! How in God's name are they allowed to get away with… https://t.co/9amOde5gcY
— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu)
Another person simply said: “OMG! I really don’t know what to say..”
Someone else wrote: “I am speechless. Its not even embellishing its right outlying which proves the points for newspapers, courtiers, journalist and the like. How in a civilised and humane society is this allowed. They should be on the front page and radio of every news outlet and outed.”
Pieters and Manners claimed they had seen trailers for the interview, but knew it was going to “be pretty toxic and define Harry and Meghan’s relationship with the royal family for the foreseeable future.”
They pretended to be from a false media company entitled Beneath the Fold, looking for pre-corded, filing material - which is common practice, with journalists often seeking instant comment on breaking news events.
One Twitter user commented: “It proved how incredibly biased they are. It is disgusting.
Someone else wrote; “Meghan never stood a chance.”
One person observed: “This should be a shocking video but how many of us were even surprised? It’s par for the course these days I’m afraid.”