American Vogue is branded ‘absurd’ for claiming word ‘niggling’ in Meghan Markle Mail headline is a racist insult
- The magazine criticised a Daily Mail front page for using the words in 2017
- It appeared alongside a photograph of Harry and Meghan’s engagement
- t was used in a headline to signpost to an inside article written by Sarah Vine
- Vogue writer Hamish Bowles suggested the phrase was racist toward Meghan
American Vogue was yesterday branded absurd for suggesting the phrase ‘a niggling worry’ was racist towards Meghan Markle.
The magazine criticised a Daily Mail front page for using the words alongside Harry and Meghan’s engagement photo in 2017.
It was used in a headline to signpost to an inside article written by Sarah Vine.
American Vogue suggested the word was racist, even though ‘niggling’ means ‘to gnaw at’ or a ‘persistent annoyance’.
An online article by the British fashion journalist Hamish Bowles (pictured) in American Vogue reaches new heights of idiocy
It was used in a headline to signpost to an inside article written by Sarah Vine
The magazine admitted as much, yet went on to level what the Mail called an ‘extremely serious and unfounded allegation’ of racism.
What the OED says
The word ‘niggle’ has been in the English language since the late 16th century.
The Oxford English Dictionary says its origin is uncertain, but it may derive from Swiss German or Scandinavian. It has several meanings in English, including ‘to cause slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort or anxiety’.
There is no suggestion that it has any racially offensive connotations.
In its latest issue, long-standing Vogue writer Hamish Bowles, a 57-year-old Briton, states: ‘In 2017, the Daily Mail, featuring Harry and Meghan’s touching engagement picture on the front page, saw fit to run the headline from their columnist Sarah Vine: ‘Yes, they’re joyfully in love. ‘So why do I have a niggling worry about this engagement picture?’ (Webster’s defines the word niggling thus: ‘bothersome or persistent especially in a petty or tiresome way’.
‘Nevertheless, the word seemed a surprising choice and jumped from the page, as presumably it was intended to.’
Last night Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union, said: ‘It’s a bit like claiming that a newspaper is racist because the ink it uses on its pages is black. It’s just silly and absurd.’
The word is in such common use that it has appeared in The Times 3,687 times, in The Guardian 2,268 times – and 2,037 times in the Daily Mail.
It has even been used eight times in American Vogue itself.
Last year, Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of US Vogue, was forced to make an apology for publishing material that had been intolerant, as well as not doing enough to promote black staff and designers.
Yesterday the Mail wrote to her asking her to amend the latest article’s ‘deliberate accusation of racism against this paper and Sarah Vine’.
Last year, Anna Wintour (pictured), the editor-in-chief of US Vogue, was forced to make an apology for publishing material that had been intolerant, as well as not doing enough to promote black staff and designers