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The Sinister World of Meghan Markle Pregnancy Truthers Just Reared Its Ugly Head

As an actress in the public eye, Meghan (née Markle), Duchess of Sussex understood that celebrity status, even if you’re at the bottom of the rung, comes with some good, some bad and a whole lot of ugly. And in the three years since Meghan’s relationship with Prince Harry catapulted her to global superstardom, she’s weathered storm after shit storm of bullying on social media and in the tabloid press. If anonymous sources in questionable media outlets were taken at their word, the British monarchy is THIS close to toppling over because of a former Suits actress from California.

But as ugly as things have been, they just got way, way worse. That’s because in the darkest corner of Twitter and YouTube, an ugly conspiracy theory has given birth to Meghan Markle pregnancy truthers who are convinced the duke and duchess are using a secret surrogate and that Meghan’s growing belly is just Hollywood-level prosthetics. Per Elle, YouTube videos dedicated to proving Meghan’s pregnancy is fake have amassed hundreds of thousands of views. Over on Twitter, truthers use hashtags like #Mexit, #Moonbump, #CharlatanDuchess and the very direct #meghanmarkleisNOTpregnant as a bat signal of sorts for fellow conspiracy theorists. Worst of all, Meghan’s already oft-criticized gesture of cradling her belly, a natural maternal instinct, has been used as proof that she’s just using it to hold up her fake prosthetic belly.

Following Meghan and Harry’s announcement of a plan to eschew the postpartum photocall for a more private celebration, truthers are doubling down and growing louder and more defiant online. And while it may seem easy to dismiss a small sect of Meghan Markle haters — you can’t just Amazon Prime a secret baby to Frogmore Cottage, guys — it’s actually dangerous and damaging. The press and public has already put Meghan through the wringer: she has to be good enough for Harry, regal enough for the British royals, attractive enough to compete with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and educated enough to take on the grind of royal work. Now they want her to prove she’s really pregnant? No, I don’t think so. This is where the Sussexes draw the line and their move to keep their birth private should be met with up-roaring applause by everyone, but especially women. The last thing a pregnant woman needs is additional stress, and these rumors are bound to impact Meghan.

Unfortunately, living in a society obsessed with policing women’s bodies means Meghan is not the first famous woman to be accused of faking a pregnancy. Back in 2011, Beyoncé’s every move was scrutinized by truthers who believed she was faking her pregnancy with Blue Ivy, using shadows and folds on a dress as proof that her pregnant belly was just a silicon prosthetic. The scrutiny must have been agonizing for the singer who later revealed she had suffered a miscarriage before Blue. Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie and a countless other famous women have been accused of the same, proving that no matter how high you climb up the social ladder, someone will be working their damned hardest to shake you off it.

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