Royal author Omid Scobie spoke to Business Insider about his new book, "Endgame."
Scobie said he and his family have faced harassment and online trolling.
But the writer says he has no plans to step back from royal reporting any time soon.
It's the day after Thanksgiving and Omid Scobie has been awake since 5 a.m. at his home in California.
The bestselling co-author of "Finding Freedom" is about to release his second book, "Endgame," which is out on Tuesday and chronicles the royal family's fight for survival in the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II's death. But instead of taking some much-needed downtime, Scobie has spent the morning on calls with lawyers.
When he logs on to our Zoom call three hours later, Scobie says his father, who lives alone, is "being harassed by a tabloid newspaper" and is the subject of a "horrible series of stories," the details of which he didn't disclose.
Scobie has been writing about the British royal family since 2011, and during that time he has traveled with Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, and Kate Middleton on international and UK-based royal engagements, according to his bio in Harper's Bazaar, where he currently serves as a royal editor.
From early in his career, Scobie stood out from other British journalists on the royal beat for his decision to work primarily in American newsrooms, including "Good Morning America" and "ABC News." Writing in his book "Endgame," Scobie says these newsrooms were more diverse than their UK counterparts and that his American colleagues offered support when it came to his coverage of Harry and Meghan, a direct contrast to his experience at home in London.
"My coverage offering both sides of the story — and an empathetic approach to a mixed-race woman in the royal institution — was met with criticism and attacks from the press," Scobie wrote, referencing the British tabloid press.
Scobie can relate to Meghan Markle's experiences
After a while, some British publications started referring to Scobie as Meghan and Harry's "mouthpiece" and "cheerleader," he wrote in the book. And on a more serious scale, he said some tabloids harassed his family, while others dug into "every possible aspect" of his life.
According to Scobie's book, he was targeted with racial slurs and was called a "terrorist" by online trolls shortly after the Daily Mail started referring to him as a British-Iranian journalist in 2018.
"It's made the job very unenjoyable at times," Scobie tells me of the harassment he still endures. "It has affected my life in ways that I don't think I'll ever really be able to verbalize well enough, but I've also reached a point now where I don't care."
It's not dissimilar to Meghan's experience. The Duchess of Sussex was subjected to racist tabloid coverage after she was first photographed with Prince Harry in 2016, and it only appeared to intensify after they married in 2018. For example, a November 2016 Daily Mail headline claimed Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, lived in a neighborhood "(almost) straight outta Compton" and a 2019 Daily Mail headline suggested the duchess' love of avocados propelled "human rights abuses, drought, and murder."
Representatives for the Daily Mail did not respond to requests for comment.
Despite having her own tormentors to deal with, Meghan reportedly called Scobie in the summer of 2018 to check if he was OK. The duchess' then-press secretary, Sara Latham, had informed her of the author's situation, he wrote in the book.
"Though I appreciated the conversation, it was also deflating," Scobie wrote. "Here was someone checking in on a journalist she still only really knew from a byline, when so many people in her royal orbit — including those on payroll — wouldn't do the same for her."
Representatives for the Duchess of Sussex did not respond to a request for comment.
The royal family is reportedly nervous about Scobie's new book
Scobie's first book, released in 2020 and co-written with Carolyn Durand, was a biography of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex which became a New York Times bestseller, according to Harper Collins.
The book ruffled feathers, giving a compassionate look at the couple's step back from royal duties during a time when they faced intense media scrutiny from Scobie's fellow royal correspondents.
With "Endgame," the author delves into the state of the monarchy since King Charles took the throne, with Scobie reflecting on the monarch and Prince William's reported power struggle and the royal family's inability to apologize for its racist past.
"Parts of this book will burn my bridges for good," Scobie writes in the book, not referencing any particular excerpt. I ask if he has heard from King Charles or William's representatives since news of the book was publicized.
"Obviously as you and I talk, the book isn't out yet, so there's really only sort of these snippets and oddly written translations out in the public domain," Scobie said.
"But I had heard a couple of weeks ago from someone very much within all of this who said that there was a great amount of nerves about certain things appearing in the book," he added.
Representatives for the royal family are yet to publicly comment on the book. However, after its release on Tuesday, anonymous sources said to be friends of William told the Daily Mail's royal editor Rebecca English that Scobie's reporting is "conspiracy theories dressed up as fact." The sources denied the book's claim that William leaked information about Harry and Meghan to the media.
The royal family's complex relationship with the press has been widely documented over the years. Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in 2021, Prince Harry said the royals have an "invisible contract" with the tabloids, where they wine and dine certain reporters in exchange for better coverage. In the past, Scobie said he was mindful of "how far" he could push the limits with his reporting for fear of upsetting the royal press office and losing access.
But with writing this book, he had a different mindset.
"Someone said to me really early on in this process, they said to tell a good story, you've got to shine a light in the darkest places and not give an F while you're doing it," Scobie said. "So that's kind of the approach to this one."
This approach has already landed Scobie in hot water with media critics who have challenged some of the allegations in the book.
The Telegraph's Anita Singh writes in her review that the book is an "utterly one-sided affair" and "devoid of insight." Meanwhile, Piers Morgan writes in his column for The Sun that the book is "full of lies," and specifically references Scobie's claim that Morgan and Queen Camilla regularly speak on the phone.
"But the truth is I've never had a single phone conversation with Her Majesty in my entire life," Morgan writes. Harper Collins did not respond to a request for comment regarding Morgan's column.
With all that in mind, my only remaining question for Scobie is: Why does he continue on the royals beat?
"I refuse to be pushed out of a space that I'm not perhaps necessarily wanted in," Scobie said. "I'll finish when I'm ready to finish."
"And so before I go, let me tell you an incredible story of how this works, what this looks like today, what I've learned, and perhaps the things that could make the institution of the monarchy better," he added.
Representatives for Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace did not respond to requests for comment.
Read the original article on Business Insider