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Prince Harry draws criticism for calling First Amendment 'bonkers'

Harry's comments about First Amendment protections while discussing the paparazzi on a podcast struck a nerve with conservative politicians and commentators.
/ Source: TODAY

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are finding out that life in the United States comes with plenty of scrutiny and criticism, too.

Harry is facing a backlash for recent comments he made on a podcast about the First Amendment, while he and Meghan have found that the more they open up their lives — in various projects from a Spotify podcast, to an Apple TV+ special about mental health, as well as their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March — the more scrutiny they face.

The Duke of Sussex became a target of conservative criticism this week for his comments to Dax Shepard and Monica Padman on the "Armchair Expert" podcast when discussing the intrusions of the paparazzi while living in California.

"I don't want to start sort of going down a First Amendment route because that's a huge subject and one I don't understand because I've only been here for a short period of time, but you can find a loophole in anything and you can capitalize or exploit what's not said rather than uphold what is said," he said. "I believe we live in an age now where we've got certain elements of the media redefining what privacy means."

"I've got so much I want to say about the First Amendment as I sort of understand it, but it is bonkers," he added later.

Britain has much stricter laws against libel and protecting privacy compared to the First Amendment protections in the U.S. Harry's comments later struck a nerve.

"Nice that he can say that," Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted Sunday.

"Harry, we really don't need you coming from England to give us lectures on the First Amendment," Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his show Monday. "This is what public figures in America go through."

The couple moved to California and stepped back from their duties as senior members of the royal family partly to escape media attention in the United Kingdom. However, they have put themselves out there publicly with a host of projects including a Netflix deal, an upcoming children's book by Meghan, and Harry's new job with a Silicon Valley firm.

"I think what is beginning to irritate a lot of people on this side of the pond is the constant demands for privacy, and yet we know more about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle than we did before because they've chosen to lift the lid on a lot of very private matters," NBC News royal commentator Daisy McAndrew said on TODAY Tuesday.

Their latest project is Harry's participation in the documentary series "The Me You Can't See" with Winfrey on Apple TV+, which will be released May 21. An emotional trailer for the series was released Monday in which Harry and others like Lady Gaga, Glenn Close and NBA star DeMar DeRozan share their struggles with mental health issues.

"To make that decision to receive help is not a sign of weakness," Harry says in the trailer. "In today's world, more than ever, it is a sign of strength."