Wendell Pierce, Meghan’s dad on Suits: ‘My words were twisted, a classic tabloid trick’

Wendell Pierce, who played Meghan Markle’s dad on Suits, has found himself in a bit of a controversy after his comments on Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview. Pierce is currently living in Budapest and had not seen the interview before he spoke to UK’s LBC radio. Pierce delivered an easily twistable soundbite. He said he thought the interview was insignificant in the wake of the pandemic and that our focus was essentially wrong. I am not sure why Pierce didn’t know (I believe he did) that the British press was going to run with what he said and make several disparaging headlines against Meghan about it.

After some push back from many people including Sussex supporters, Wendell clarified his comments the next day. He appeared on Entertainment Tonight where he acknowledged that he didn’t know that Meghan discussed her mental health struggles and stated that his words were twisted. Below are a few excerpts from both interviews via Buzzfeed:

During an appearance on the UK’s LBC radio station on Tuesday, Pierce said he believed Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview was “insignificant” in the midst of the global devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today 3,000 people are going to die in America from COVID,” the actor said. “A couple of hundred people are going to die within this hour in the UK.”

He went on: “The interview… For me, the first thing that came to my mind, was actually something that was very English, written by the bard Shakespeare: ‘Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’”

“It is quite insensitive and offensive that we are all complicit in this sort of palace gossip,” Pierce said. “In the midst of so much death, I think it is insignificant.”

“My comments were about the obsession around the royal family and it shouldn’t take priority over the deaths of the pandemic,” Pierce said. He added that he is currently living in Budapest, where the interview had not yet aired.

“I’m not into the royals and my point was we are all complicit in this whirlwind of royal obsession that feeds the tabloids while so much death is around us,” Pierce said. “That’s the wrong priority.”

“I didn’t see the interview or know it was about her suicidal thoughts,” he went on.

“I … would never demean a person’s mental health,” Pierce added. “My words were twisted. A classic tabloid trick. That was not the spirit of what I was saying.”

[From Buzzfeed]

I love everything Wendell has done for NOLA. I also know that Wendell is an intelligent man. There is no way that he didn’t know that his words would end up on the front page of some tabloid. I understand that he doesn’t care about the royal family and all but he must know some of what Meghan was going through over the last four years. I personally feel that Meghan was close to all of her Suits castmates but there were key ones that she became best friends with. I felt that Wendell’s absence from the wedding meant that they may not have created the same bond or that he didn’t necessarily approve of the nuptials (I am sure he was busy on another project or something) but still. I am not completely mad at Wendell for being insensitive and a bit irresponsible with his words. Although I agree with his sentiments about how we as consumers drive the stories in the tabloids because of our obsession with the royals (specifically Meghan and Harry), I hope he is more cautious with what he says going forward. Meghan has had enough of the British media and public bullying her these last four years. A “no comment,” or “I didn’t see the interview” would have sufficed.

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56 Responses to “Wendell Pierce, Meghan’s dad on Suits: ‘My words were twisted, a classic tabloid trick’”

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  1. Amelie says:

    I don’t think he meant anything by his comments. He’s defended her in the past. I think he wanted attention. He loved it for a while there. He loved people praising him for trashing MM and Harry and the Royals until people started dragging him and the Fail article was tweeted at him. He didn’t like that. I don’t think he thought anything through. He made it much worse than it needed to be on Twitter.

  2. Sayrah says:

    I don’t remember him I pulling off a condom in that film. Wasn’t he small and lela Rochon faked it?

    • smcollins says:

      I don’t remember that either, and I’ve seen that movie a lot (it’s one of my favorites). I remember that he was kind of bad in bed and she had to instruct him. He tossed the wrapper not the actual condom once he finally got it on. And then after that night he started acting like a jerk at work and basically dumped her (she was at a club with the other women and he was there with someone else, blowing her off with indifference).
      As far as his remarks, twisted or not he had to know how it would be perceived. He even referred to it as a tabloid trick so he knows how these things go. He also should have known better than to comment about the interview if he hadn’t even seen it. Just all kinds of mistakes that he could have easily avoided. But now he knows, so that’s something.

    • Celebitchy says:

      I’ll take that out if no one can remember it!

  3. Tiffany says:

    I think that was his roundabout way of talking priority and not adding fire to the flame regarding Meghan. He has tweeted nice things about her before and I don’t think too much of him not being at the wedding because that man always keeps a job. I think The Odd Couple was still on the air around the time of their wedding.

    • GraceB says:

      I think you’re right and I think he is right too, in that it’s messed up that with so many terrible things going on in the world, the Royals dominate our headlines. He’s also right about the fact that it’s because it sells and we are fuelling that every time we talk about it or click on the stories. He wasn’t saying anything specifically negative about Meghan or Harry.

      • Anne Call says:

        Completely agree. I understand people are interested, but people are dying, congress passed a landmark bill that will take millions of children out of poverty and stuff about the completely archaic and wildly out of step British royal family dominated the news for days. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for H & M and I think they did the right thing moving away from all that craziness and toxicity. Just need to keep the world in perspective.

  4. JK says:

    When I read his comments, I wondered if he was grieving from the loss of a loved one due to covid. You never know what people are going through. He was not very compassionate but maybe he’s got some personal issues. Who knows. …

    • Anna says:

      That’s a good point. He has always been in her corner. Who knows what he thought the interview would be. He was talking from the p.o.v. of the one-year anniversary of covid and probably the years of watching someone he cares about being disparaged and damaged by the British press. And he is also distanced from it all.

  5. SheaButterBaby says:

    It’s possible that he doesn’t follow the royals and doesn’t care about their goings on. I’m assuming he spoke without knowing the full story, which can be dangerous, especially in this situation.

    As a side note, none of the black men I know have even an inkling of what’s been happening until this Oprah interview blew up. When it’s brought up they seem to be completely oblivious to it.

  6. Alexandria says:

    A lot of people cannot see that this is not royal gossip. This is not about who wore what, tiaras and Fergie’s toe sucking and affairs.

    Look, Oprah is the richest black person in the world and even she was discriminated against. If a biracial ROYAL can be treated this way, this reflects that average black and minorities still have a looooooooooong way to go in being respected and allowed to thrive. Black people cannot even go for a jog. He talks about Covid, surely he knows how the black community has struggled to be treated. Researchers suggest that racism and structural discrimination may contribute to an increased risk of worse clinical outcomes within ethnic minority communities. Please see the bigger picture of what this interview is saying. It’s saying you as a black person need to know your place.

    • SheaButterBaby says:

      Meghan’s story is definitely part of a bigger picture. You make great points, I will say, though, that those of us who experience racism and discrimination every day don’t need Meghan’s story as proof. This is our LIFE. It’s like YES, this is what we’ve been saying all along and no one wants to listen. This whole thing is just all around heartbreaking.

    • Nina Simone says:

      Oprah is the richest black woman. Not the richest black person. FYI

  7. Dannii says:

    I listened to it live and was very disappointed with what he said. My jaw dropped and I was surprised. I wondered if he was pissed that she hadn’t really kept in contact with him. It was just very bizarre all round if I’m honest.

    • Lola says:

      He might have just had someone close to him die of COVID, we have no idea.

    • Nina says:

      He could’ve just said I have not seen the interview, I don’t have any first-hand knowledge about the situation, so I don’t have an opinion about it. That would have thrown shade on these bottomfeeders.
      Given how the Brits hate being embarrased but like to gossip, they would’ve backed up immediately. But no, he had to score cheap points.

    • Kärent says:

      I agree, what he said wasn’t very nice. A pandemic doesn’t invalidate racism. Don’t call an interview insignificant if you don’t even know what it was about. Just say no comment or I haven’t seen it.

  8. Amy Bee says:

    He knew better and should have STFU about it.

  9. Rose says:

    In the interview she said her friends and family knew to say “no comment”. So I’m thinking they’re not close or he said it for attention.

  10. NCDancer says:

    Saying no comment – I haven’t seen the interview and I can’t comment – is always an option. More people should avail themselves of it.

  11. Jen says:

    I thought he was at the wedding. He should have just said I have not seen it. I am focused on Covid. I wish them all well.

  12. Nina Simone says:

    I know Wendell. He’s a good man and did not intend for his words to be blown out of proportion like this. He’s a community activist first and an actor second. His community in new Orléans has been completely ravaged by Covid, after barely surviving Katrina. Again American racism and inequity. Wendell is feeling raw and I don’t doubt he also sees the RF as what they are: a white supremacist pillaging family. So again, he’s just in a mournful headspace. Hope that clarifies.

    • Anna says:

      Thank you and agreed. I wish your comments could be known nationally so he’s not destroyed in the press for that.

    • STRIPE says:

      Thanks for saying that as someone who knows him. This was my initial suspicion as well. He’s someone who has done a lot of work in NOLA and sees a lot of suffering in the POC communities there. Not to say that what M&H went through wasn’t terrible, but for him it probably just seemed superficial if he wasn’t close enough with Meghan to really know the extent of her mental health problems.

      Maybe he just should have just said “I haven’t seen it” and left it at that, but thats easy for us to say looking back. I am absolutely willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here.

    • SheaButterBaby says:

      Great insight. Thank you for sharing, Nina.

    • I know says:

      I feel the same way. He is a man whose eyes are widened and knew what was coming – even warned her. He’s a man who knows how destructive white supremacy has been to the black community. And while he has empathy for Meghan and Harry, he is seeing vulnerable people without resources die every day.

      • Nina Simone says:

        @I KNOW he’s a very smart man and definitely saw this coming. But he does support Meg tho. Always has.

    • Nic919 says:

      I don’t think most people knew this interview was going to discuss Meghan having suicidal ideation. After all people here pay attention closely and we had no idea, so if Wendell was busy working overseas he wouldn’t have known either.

    • LeonsMomma says:

      You must have had a different experience with Wendell, as I have not had a good one. Full of himself and I think he knew exactly what he was doing — getting attention for himself. (Also based on someone who worked with him, not on “Suits” but on another show.)

      Oh, and by the way about New Orleans: He plays to the press being an activist, but never delivers, or half-ass delivers, such as Sterling Farms. He made a big deal about food deserts, opened a grocery store (I will give him credit for that), which closed months later https://www.nola.com/news/business/article_a4aae8e2-d48d-50be-a687-cbc3351fae8f.html
      May not have been his fault, but I am tired of him getting credit for doing a lot for New Orleans after Katrina and their are no receipts proving that he did. He just announces that he is doing things just to get the press.

    • Caitrin says:

      100%, Nina. (Fellow New Orleanian here.)

    • Vera says:

      on a different note, I am currently living in Budapest too. I was wondering why he is here, is he filming something?

  13. I know says:

    Wendell could be feeling what I and of few of my friends battle with when it comes to Meghan. We like her. Think she is an intelligent, accomplished woman, who was treated badly by her in laws and family. I honestly believe Meghan thought her light skin privilege would’ve given her a pass on the racism. But what she and Harry have learned is racists DO NOT CARE about your shade. it’s Blackness that offends them. There was an interview I read where he said he warned her about the racism she will likely face. He knew that no matter how light she was, no matter how much she straightened her hair, she and her children would never be accepted. I think for him, he’s like “yeah, duh? they’re racist, the sky is blue, what did she expect? let’s talk about what’s actually shocking and unforseen.”

    • goofpuff says:

      He can do that without dismissing her experience though. You can do both, point out more important issues without suggesting her mental anguish doesn’t matter. And especially should not have commented without seeing the interview. I wonder if it’s more of a sexist problem with his statement? women’s mental issues aren’t important to him?

      • I know says:

        You’re right. I’m just not writing him off yet as being completely insensitive to her suicidal ideations. That comment just sounds more like a frustrated person more than anything else. I’d like to give him a pass considering his past work. Yes, I do agree with everyone who has said a simple, “I didn’t watch the interview so I can’t give any comment. But since you’re here, let’s discuss the people who are dying of COVID everyday.”

    • Nina says:

      That would be unfair to make such assumptions. she might have had it easier because of her skin color but then all light-skinned POC do. Most do not assume that it gives them some kind of magical shield to racism. In fact sometimes they have it harder because both sides make assumptions regarding their thoughts and affiliations.

  14. HK9 says:

    A simple no comment would have sufficed. He didn’t see the interview, so why comment?

  15. friendofladyliberty says:

    Look, there are plenty of kind, decent, non-racist, non-discriminating, loving humans who are beyond tired of hearing about Harry and Megan. What was WP’s agenda behind his communication? Can’t say and don’t care. All these folks involved in this drama have more than enough means to deal with the situations they’ve placed themselves in without drawing any of us into their drama. Harry and Megan have repeatedly stated they want privacy so the best thing we can all do is honor their request, regardless.

    • FancyHat says:

      Harry and Meghan have never said they wanted privacy. It’s something the racist media has claimed they said as a way to attack them.

      • Bex says:

        Isn’t it something how these people just accept the UK tabloid press narrative about privacy without question?

        Or seemingly, even a basic understanding of what privacy is?

        Meghan made an excellent point about how she never talked about wanting privacy. She just didn’t want some tabloid to think that because she shared pictures on SussexRoyal, it didn’t give a tabloid the right to go through her camera roll.

        She can and should share what she wants WHEN she wants and with whom she wants. The UK tabloid press doesn’t get to set the boundary. She and every other person on the plan does.

    • Elizabeth says:

      “the situations they’ve placed themselves in” — how so? because Meghan did not create racism. She was living her life and decided to marry a prince, she was clearly not informed of how bad it was there, but why blame her for suffering from institutionalized racism? Her mental suffering is not her fault, regardless of who she married or which country she moved to. That’s like saying it’s a woman’s fault if her boyfriend beats her. It’s extremely difficult to extricate yourself from a toxic family or workplace. Multiply so as a black woman in a profoundly racist foreign country. I’m just not down with blaming Meghan for the English royals and country being racist nightmares.

  16. L4frimaire says:

    I missed this whole controversy, saw it offended a lot of people, and he clarified. He knows, like we do, the the royal family as full of sh*t and racist. Even if he supports Meghan personally, he doesn’t need to make this his business. He should have stressed he hadn’t seen the interview but he feels how he feels.He’s probably tired of being asked about it every interview he has. I’m sick of hearing about the Royal family as well. I’ll continue to follow Meghan and Harry, but the rest of them? Whatever.

  17. Amelie says:

    I wondered how many episodes Wendell appeared in Suits so I checked and according to Wiki he appeared in over 30 episodes so not an insignificant amount. But he wasn’t a part of the main cast and while I’m guessing he and Meghan got along professionally, she probably didn’t feel close enough to invite him to her wedding. Or maybe he declined attending, who knows. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

    And I didn’t find his comments necessarily dismissive, just completely clueless as to the importance and contents of the interview. In the grand scheme of things, he is right that Meghan and Harry leaving the royal family does seem insignificant with everyone going on (the Trump presidency now behind us, the pandemic, death etc.). It is not insignificant of course that Meghan opened up about her mental health but it’s possible he just wasn’t paying attention to the coverage. I think he just has more important things going on than Meghan’s well-being, which may sound harsh but most people can only focus on so much during this pandemic.

  18. Keri says:

    This guy is a piece of work. His words were twisted my ass. Just listen to the interview. He knew what he was doing. He’s a coward. He was invited to do promotion for his next upcoming project and then got pissed when he figured out the only reason he was invited on U.K. Radio was because they wanted to discuss Meghan and Harry. It’s pure resentment and jealousy. So he gives his opinion using the relative privation argument even though most of us, you know, have more than two brain cells to rub together and can care about multiple issues. He’s not smart enough to realize that if people took his argument seriously, then his promotion of himself on U.K. radio is unneeded/superfluous. Shouldn’t he be focusing on the pandemic? How selfish of him to do promo at this time because people are dying! Of course he’s backtracking.

    He’s a spineless cretin who threw a fellow person of color under the bus who he worked with for years because he resented her for being the reason he was asked to do a U.K. Interview. As a person of color, it’s triggering, because this is coming from another person of color. I would care less if it was some random white person who never experienced racism but he knew her and I’m sure he’s experienced racism and he still went there. She was pummeled in the press for 4 years and he knowingly contributed to the pile on because he figured out no one really cared about promoting him.

  19. MsIam says:

    I don’t know, if you wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he was trying to chastise the media for obsessing on this instead of like, you know, the pandemic. I have seen other supportive statements by him about Meghan, even joking about how as her TV dad he approved of Harry. So maybe he thought he was shutting something down instead of firing something up. I don’t think he was trying to be like the a-hole sisters, Betthany and Megyn.

  20. Emily_C says:

    The media is still talking about the pandemic all the time though. The New York Times, Washington Post — basically all the reliable (not perfect at all, but usually reliable) news sites have a constant “pandemic news” bar on the front page, linking multiple articles.

    Maybe people are giving this more attention than they would otherwise specifically because of the pandemic. We can’t just sit around thinking about sickness and death all the time. It does no one any good. And there are a whole lot of reckonings going on that Meghan and Harry’s interview sits right in the middle of — racism, sexism, classism, mental health.

  21. schmootc says:

    BUNK! Sorry, had to do it.

  22. AnneSurely says:

    The option always exists to say nothing. Something which men should avail themselves of more often.

  23. MA says:

    I mean he’s going around promoting himself and his show in the middle of a pandemic so…..

  24. Bibi says:

    Leave it to a Black man to continue the pile-up on a woman who’s being abused. I don’t give him a pass because he could as well have said ‘no comment’. Not good enough, Wendell. Collectively, the entire globe is reeling from loss and yet we get up daily to fight against injustice any way we can. For him to even dismiss it without knowing the discourse is irresponsible.