Veteran Publicist Discovers Holes In Harry & Meghan's 'Near Catastrophic' Paparazzi Chase Story

Eyewitnesses have confirmed something definitely went down. But was it as intense as the Sussexes say?

Publicist discussing Harry and Meghan's 'near catastrophic' paparazzi chase TikTok; NeydtStock/Shutterstock

There is no denying that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle are relentlessly hounded by the paparazzi. You need only to scroll your social media feeds, go to any news website or simply Google their names to be bombarded with photos and videos of the couple, often attached to scathing stories and commentary about them and their family drama

But when it comes to the recent story of Harry and Meghan's 'near catastrophic' paparazzi chase as the couple and Meghan Markle's mother Doria Ragland were leaving New York's Ziegfeld Ballroom following the Women of Vision awards, some are feeling a bit skeptical that the scene was quite as harrowing as the Duke and Duchess are making out.


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Was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's car chase faked?

Veteran PR professional Molly McPherson has pointed out holes in Harry and Meghan's paparazzi chase story. There's no doubt that some sort of incident with the paparazzi occurred in New York City—eyewitnesses have confirmed that it did. But McPherson, a public relations professional and communications professor who specializes in the field of PR called crisis communication, has found certain details of the story to be suspicious.


McPherson is emphatic that her examination of the Duke and Duchess's story is not motivated by any desire to criticize the couple. But to her trained eye, the choice of words used and the absence of key corroborating details muddy the water of the story.



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PR manager McPherson finds it strange that Harry and Meghan's paparazzi chase story does not seem to have a source from the New York Police Department.

McPherson says that at first she dismissed her own suspicious response to the story. But then she got a call from a former colleague, a New York City journalist, who seemed to share her confusion. "One of the first questions he asked about the statement is, was there an NYPD source? He wants to know the involvement at the NYPD."


Given that the story specifically states that the NYPD was involved in the paparazzi chase, it stands to reason that the NYPD would issue an official statement. "I'm looking, looking..." McPherson said. "I said, no, it's just a 'source,'" she said, referring to the "unnamed source" the story is attributed to. "There's no name attached to it."

McPherson did notice, however, that in CNN's version of the story, a man named John Miller was named as a contributor. "John Miller has a storied history with law enforcement, and with NYPD counterterrorism. He's also the guy that interviewed Osama bin Laden," McPherson said. "This guy is as inside as inside gets."

Despite that, CNN's story did not contain any more details about the NYPD's involvement than any other outlet's reporting. "We do not know anything from the NYPD other than...something happened," McPherson said.  

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The story's dramatic wording coupled with the near total lack of photo or video evidence also aroused suspicion.

McPherson said the very first thing her former colleague said to her on the phone was "What's up with this headline?" The wording, especially the phrase "nearly catastrophic," struck them both as impassioned on a level not usually seen from the Royal Family.

"Let's break down the statement now," McPherson said. She pointed out that the statement of events came from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's spokespeople. Quoting from the statement, McPherson read, "'There was a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi,'" then noted the "very colorful language" being used.

As she continued reading, McPherson pointed out the "parallels" in the statement's wording to Harry's mother Princess Diana, who died in a horrific car crash in a tunnel in Paris in 1997 following a high-speed chase with paparazzi. Harry and Meghan have both stated that fears they will come to a similar end are what ultimately pushed them to step down from their royal duties and move to the United States.

"The relentless pursuit lasting over 2 hours, resulting in multiple near collisions, including other drivers on the road, pedestrians, two NYPD officers.... now we see the parallels, right?" McPherson said. "We see 'paparazzi,' 'relentless pursuit.' We definitely see a parallel there," McPherson continued.


But the lack of direct evidence to back up the parallels strikes McPherson and her colleague as suspicious. "This is New York City," she went on to say. "Video, social media, tweets—anything that shows...this 'relentless pursuit'—where are they?" she asked.

Other theorists have even noted that the chase occurred days after the British tabloid Daily Mirror was forced to apologize to the former royal for phone hacking. The lawsuit also provided evidence of Harry's claims that much of the information leaked about him to the press came from other Royal family members or households. Supporters are questioning if the "chase" could have been part of a much more sinister plot.

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The NYPD, the Mayor, and the taxi driver who transported Harry & Meghan have all downplayed the couple's characterization of the paparazzi chase.

To McPherson's point, while the NYPD has confirmed that an incident of some kind took place, their characterization did not match the Sussexes'.


"There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging," Julian Phillips, an NYPD spokesperson, said in a statement. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests."

New York City Mayor Eric Adams was far more blunt in his skepticism, calling into question the mere possibility of a two-hour high-speed chase in the most densely-packed city in the nation. "I would find it hard to believe that there was a two-hour high-speed chase," he said, going on to report that the incident actually lasted more like 45 minutes.

Taxi driver Sukhcharn Singh similarly downplayed the scenario. "I don’t think I would call it a chase," he said. "I never felt like I was in danger. It wasn’t like a car chase in a movie."

Singh did note, however, that Harry, Meghan and Meghan's mother Doria Ragland all "seemed scared" by what was going on, which is certainly understandable given all they've been through with paparazzi before. And despite its downplaying of the events, the NYPD has launched an investigation into the incident, which it has since said involved NYPD officers having to "hide in a driveway" at one point to avoid the swarming paparazzi.


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Harry and Meghan's 'near catastrophic' paparazzi chase story comes just two days after Harry filed suit against the UK government over his security.

Whether or not the incident was as dangerous as the Sussexes say, being chased around a city by paparazzi, even if only for a few minutes, is an insane thing to have to deal with. And it can't possibly not be difficult, especially for Harry given what happened to his mother.

Given all that history, it's no surprise that just two days before Harry and Meghan's "near catastrophic" paparazzi chase, the Prince launched a second lawsuit against the UK government to compel them to allow him to pay for police security when in the country. Buckingham Palace rescinded his security detail when he and Meghan stepped down from their royal duties, and both have been candid about the ways this has endangered them and their children, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1.

As McPherson points out in her video, the timing of the paparazzi chase story vis à vis the filing of Harry's lawsuit has also struck many as suspicious. But even if Harry and Meghan are ginning up the story to sway the powers that be, after all, they've been through with the paparazzi, can you really blame them?


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.