Meghan Markle Reaches Out to Young Woman Who Was the Victim of an Alleged Hate Crime

Meghan Markle spoke with Althea Bernstein, an 18-year-old Black woman, who was the victim of an alleged hate crime in Wisconsin last week, E! News has learned.
By Pamela Avila Jun 28, 2020 8:45 PMTags
Meghan MarkleChris Allerton/PA Wire

Meghan Markle spoke with Althea Bernstein, an 18-year-old Black woman, who was the victim of an alleged hate crime in Wisconsin last week, E! News has learned. 

The Duchess of Sussex and husband Prince Harry called her over the weekend to "offer their support and hopefully be a small source of comfort." 

According to NBC News, police in Madison launched a hate crime investigation after the young woman said a group of white men doused her with lighter fluid and set her on fire. The police department's incident report states that Bernstein told investigators that she saw four white men and "she says one used a spray bottle to deploy a liquid on her face and neck, and then threw a flaming lighter at her, causing the liquid to ignite." 

Additionally, the report states that Bernstein was able to put out the flames and drove him. Once there, her mother told her to go to the hospital, where the 18-year-old was told that the liquid was, in fact, believed to be lighter fluid. 

Meghan got in touch with Bernstein through the president of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane Country, Michael Johnsonaccording to Wisconsin news outlet Channel 3000. Johnson has also been acting as a spokesperson for Bernstein and said the Duke and Duchess talked on the phone with the young woman for about 40 minutes on Saturday afternoon.  

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"Her and Meghan talked about the importance of self care and allowing herself to heal," Johnson said, per Channel 3000. "And she applauded her for the way that she responded and pretty much said, 'Hey Michael, give me her cellphone number. I want to stay in touch. And let me know when you want me to come back and talk to people in Wisconsin." 

Johnson added that Bernstein was "moved" by the conversation with Meghan and Harry.

"She's struggling," Johnson also shared. "It's a challenge for her, it's very, very emotional. I talked to her three or four times today, and I'll tell you Meghan lifted her spirits." 

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Further, Johnson shared with the Wisconsin news channel that the Duchess advised Bernstein to stay off social media to avoid reading negative comments and that the two discussed their share experience of being biracial women. 

In a tweet shared by Johnson on Saturday, he wrote, "On the phone with Prince Harry and Meghan Markel the Duchess of Sussex. Prince Harry shared that young people voices matter and Meghan has agreed to talk with girls in Wisconsin and we will be scheduling that soon. Thank you for caring!"