Bill Simmons didn’t hold back. “I wish I had been involved in the ‘Meghan and Harry leave Spotify’ negotiation,” the sportswriter and Spotify executive railed on his eponymous podcast on June 16, following the announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had “mutually agreed to part ways” with the streaming platform three years after signing a $20 million deal.
“The ‘F—king Grifters’ — that’s the podcast we should have launched with them,” Bill said. Harsh words, but he’s not the only one who’s super critical of the former senior royals.
“Practically everyone in Hollywood is talking about how Harry and Meghan’s empire is crumbling,” a source tells In Touch.
“They were basically fired by Spotify, which is embarrassing, but Harry and Meghan are now fighting back by telling their side of the story,” the insider explains. “Yes, they’ve made mistakes, but they have big plans for their next endeavor. ”
They’re the first to admit they struggled to find their footing in the wake of Megxit.
“Harry has opened up about how his father, King Charles III, cut him off financially and wouldn’t take his calls,” the source says. Scrambling to support themselves, the Sussexes quickly signed with Netflix in September 2020, then inked the Spotify deal four months later.
“We hadn’t thought about” entering the streaming business, Harry, 38, admitted of the surprise move. “I just needed enough money to pay for security to keep my family safe.”
But three years later, sources argue, the pair didn’t do enough to earn their hefty paycheck at Spotify. Their company, Archewell Audio, produced just 12 episodes of Archetypes. (Business insiders suggest they may not get the full $20 million payout.) Meghan, 41, has also been accused of “faking” parts of the podcast, passing off interviews her producers conducted as her own.
“One journalist exposed her lies by pointing out that she was interviewed by someone else, even though the episode was edited to make it sound like Meghan was reacting to her,” the source continues.
The insider adds that Spotify execs were “forced to be much more hands-on than expected. And they still didn’t get much out of the partnership.”
Harry and Meghan have little to show for their Netflix collaboration, as well. Aside from the explosive Harry & Meghan documentary and a series on the Invictus Games that still doesn’t have a release date, “they’ve been all talk and no action,” the source notes.
Meghan’s passion project, animated children’s show Pearl, even got canceled.
“Harry and Meghan clearly got in over their heads,” the source says. “Netflix may not renew their contract. They just didn’t do the work.”
But Meghan bristles at the notion that they’re just resting on their laurels.
“She’s telling friends she prides herself on her work ethic and hates being labeled an opportunist,” the insider reveals. “She always has irons in the fire and ideas brewing.”
Unfortunately, they have yet to come to fruition. Signing with Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel in May “was a step in the right direction, something she should have done earlier,” the source notes. “Meghan is talking about how Ari has a lot of big plans for her that will be shared soon. It’s all about rebranding now.”
Meanwhile, Spotify’s Bill continues to slam Harry.
“What does he do?” the executive asked, who is threatening to tell all about an allegedly damning Zoom call he once had with the prince to discuss podcast ideas. “You sell documentaries and podcasts, [but] nobody cares what you have to say about anything unless you talk about the royal family, and you just complain about them.”
Experts expect the focus to be on Meghan, not Harry.
“She’s looking to become a global celebrity influencer like her pal Gwyneth Paltrow,” the source says. Rumors swirled that Meghan had signed with luxe fashion house Dior, which counts Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart as brand ambassadors.
“That was denied, but it didn’t hurt that her name was out there in connection with a prestigious brand,” the insider adds. “A deal like that could be worth millions.”
In the end, however, Harry and Meghan need the paycheck.
“Money is definitely becoming a problem again,” the source emphasizes, noting that proceeds from Harry’s blockbuster tell-all, Spare, helped keep them afloat for a while.
“They’ll do whatever it takes to maintain their posh Montecito lifestyle,” the insider adds. “Harry even agreed to do a public therapy session in March — a 90-minute livestream event with trauma expert and author Dr. Gabor Maté.”
Not only that, but Harry has also teased that he might write another tell-all.
“Nothing is off the table,” the source concludes. “He and Meghan know their opportunities haven’t gone as planned, but they’re determined to stick it out and become a success — no matter what.”
Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.