A community kitchen founded by and for survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire was forced to delete its Instagram account and make its Facebook account private after being overwhelmed by abuse after making posts thanking Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex (aka Meghan Markle), for contacting them on the five-year anniversary of the tragedy.
Despite Meghan’s longtime and well-reported relationship with the Hubb Community Kitchen, anti-Sussex internet mobs attacked the duchess on the organization’s official Instagram and Facebook pages and accused the accounts of being run by Meghan’s public relations team.
Shortly after this post was published, the security settings for the Hubb Community Kitchen's Facebook page were changed so that it can no longer be seen — or be commented on — by the public.
The Hubb Community Kitchen’s history is intimately tied to the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in 2017, which killed 72 and destroyed the homes of more than 200 people. People who lost their homes in the Grenfell Tower fire began using the kitchens and canteen of the Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in Kensington to cook food for their families. Soon, more and more Grenfell survivors and their neighbors began gathering at the kitchen to cook together several days a week — and thus the “Hubb Community Kitchen” was formed.
In September 2018, Kensington Palace revealed that Meghan had been making secret visits to the kitchen for months and announced that she was supporting the publication of a book of recipes from its volunteers, called Together: Our Community Cookbook. The organization continues to receive a portion of the proceeds from the bestselling book. The initial profits enabled them to renovate the kitchen and extend their hours from two days a week to being open every day. The duchess has stayed in contact with Hubb Community Kitchen and its members in the years since the cookbook’s publication. She visited in person in January 2020 and held a video call about the kitchen’s efforts to feed its community during the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. In October, she called the organization and sent flowers to its leaders during a celebratory lunch.
On Tuesday, the Hubb Community Kitchen’s official Instagram and Facebook accounts posted that they had heard from the duchess on the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. They uploaded the news with a picture of Meghan posing with the authors of Together: Our Community Cookbook. “Today we received a lovely voice message from the Duchess, being the 5 year anniversary of the Grenfell tragedy, asking how we are, about our children and families and giving us news of hers,” the caption read. “Just being her beautiful kind self.”
It didn’t take long for the anti-Meghan mob to descend.
According to a Sussex fan on Twitter, the organization initially only deleted the post praising Meghan, but they soon took down their entire account. Since the Hubb Community Kitchen’s Instagram account is no longer public, it’s impossible to see the specific comments that caused the organization to shut the page down — but a look at the comments on the kitchen’s Facebook page and tweets about the Instagram post paint a pretty clear picture of the backlash they have received since posting about Meghan’s message.
Despite the fact that the duchess had previously contacted the Hubb Community Kitchen on the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, people accused Meghan of only reaching out because her brother- and sister-in-law, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attended a memorial for victims of the fire on Tuesday.
“Was it William and Catherine visiting in the news that reminded her?” asked Ciara McCorley on the kitchen’s Facebook page on Friday.
“She didn’t even think or care about them until she saw W&C attending a memorial,” an account named “Meghan’s Mole” wrote in a tweet on Tuesday that was liked nearly 300 times.
Anti-Meghan internet denizens also falsely claimed that the Facebook and Instagram pages were run by public relations teams for the Sussexes and/or their charitable organization, Archewell.
“Are you being paid by Sunshine Sachs/Archewell? Wow, you must be really desperate,” Silke Aster commented on the Hubb Community Kitchen’s Facebook page. “This is gross, and so is [Meghan’s] rank desperation.”
This sentiment was echoed on Twitter, with a user named NYVicki tweeting, “Meghan Markle is a narcissist who left any ‘role’ in the BRF. Linking her now to Grenfell is for her own PR.”
After publication of this story, a number of anti-Meghan accounts on Twitter began to claim that the Instagram and Facebook pages referenced herein were pages run by Sussex fans — as stated previously, BuzzFeed News can confirm that these were the official accounts associated with the Hubb Community Kitchen.
This is not the first time that charities and advocacy groups associated with Harry and Meghan have been attacked online by anti-Sussex accounts. In April, many official accounts affiliated with the Invictus Games, the athletic competition for wounded, injured, and sick service members and veterans from countries around the world founded by Harry, were targeted by Sussex haters before and during the games, which took place in the Hague, Netherlands.
For example, the official Twitter account for Help for Heroes, a UK veterans' charity that until recently was one of the sponsors of the Invictus Games, was forced to limit and hide comments responding to a tweet posting a video Harry made for the group in the days before the competition began. (Responses included calling Harry an "exiled traitor" and a "Money grubbing grifter who is making money off the backs of wounded soldiers.")
BuzzFeed News has done extensive reporting about the sheer amount of online abuse directed toward Harry and Meghan.
In October, social media analytics firm Bot Sentinel published a report (independently verified by BuzzFeed News) revealing that 70% of the negative and often hateful content posted on Twitter about the Sussexes came from a core group of 83 users. These "single-purpose hate accounts" coordinate to spread damaging false narratives about the duke and duchess — and constantly tweet at royal reporters in the hope of amplifying their misinformation. On YouTube, blatantly anti-Meghan channels or “royal commentary” channels that are de facto Sussex hate accounts garner millions of views and tens of thousands of dollars of ad revenue as they spread conspiracy theories about Harry and Meghan.
The Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre declined to comment to BuzzFeed News.