This Guest Is A Royal Pain In The A**
The night before the Royal Wedding, The Daily Show’s John Oliver was in London to get local reaction to the nuptials. One woman he spoke to – a friend of the royal family named Victoria Mather – said things that made my eyes pop and jaw drop.
In just about 30 seconds of airtime, Ms. Mather managed to be smugly elitist, borderline racist, and crassly insensitive toward victims of nuclear disaster.
A writer for the London Daily Telegraph, Vanity Fair, and a contributor to NBC News and CBS News, Ms. Mather comes across as Martha Stewart’s even smugger sister.
Let’s take this quote-by-quote:
QUOTE ONE: “I think the British taxpayer is being very mean about moaning about paying for this wedding. I mean, it’s a privilege, isn’t it.”
Talk about out-of-touch. Imagine if she had made the same point in a different frame instead:
“Actually, I think the British people should realize that their 20 million pound investment will be returned to them many times over, in the form of hundreds of billions of dollars to local hotels, restaurants, and other tourist sites.”
I can’t offer Ms. Mather any help for this quote, other than to suggest she carry a muzzle:
QUOTE TWO: Ms. Mather: “I prefer to be paying for the Royal Wedding and cleaning the streets afterward and for all the security than to be paying for illegal immigrants to claim benefits and live in sink estates.”
John Oliver (agreeing mockingly): “Why not make it a race issue?”
Ms. Mather: “Yes! Why not?”
Although John Oliver raised a comparison with Chernobyl, Ms. Mather not only took the bait, but doubled down by diminishing that tragedy:
QUOTE THREE: “Well, in ‘86, of course, Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson. She is a disaster possibly on the same level as Chernobyl.”
And when asked whether the Queen will thank taxpayers when she appears on the balcony with William and Kate, she responded:
QUOTE FOUR: “I think just seeing her is enough to pay good money for.”
For that quote, imagine if she had instead said:
“Of course the Queen is grateful that so many people want to celebrate this day with her family, which is exactly why she wants to appear before and acknowledge the crowd personally.”
While it’s true that The Daily Show runs clips “out of context” to enhance its comedy, it’s virtually impossible to understand how these quotes would have sounded better in any context. There’s no doubt that Ms. Mather will get airtime for these types of incendiary quotes, but I can’t imagine she’s doing much to enhance her reputation, especially with an American audience only hearing of her now for the first time.
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Related: Does Kate Middleton Need Media Training?