A second travel website has pulled a listing for a Prince Harry and Meghan Markle celebrity sightseeing tour denounced as “targeted harassment” by a researcher into online trolling.
Karl Larsen ran the “Remarkable Friendship” YouTube channel with Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, until his stroke stopped the show. Recently, Larsen advertised a Harry and Meghan-themed guided tour of Los Angeles and Montecito which he said was aimed at fans of the couple.
However, it triggered outrage after Larsen and Thomas Markle had repeatedly criticized the Sussexes on YouTube leading to Tripening.com canceling its listing.
Now Viator.com, which also hosted an ad for the tour, removed the tour from its website, a spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek. Larsen has since set up a dedicated website to promote the tour.
It comes after Thomas Markle said he was not involved in the bus tour, telling MailOnline that “I never gave my approval to Karl Larsen for any tour anywhere. I am not involved in any way.”
Christopher Bouzy, of Bot Sentinel, an analytics service that tracks disinformation and harassment on X, formerly Twitter, told Newsweek: “The recent incident where a celebrity tour was being organized to visit the neighborhood of the Duke and Duchess’s residence is a concerning escalation of online harassment transitioning to the real world.
“The problematic listing was an act of targeted harassment, and it jeopardized the safety of the Duke and Duchess’s family,” Bouzy, who was a guest on the Netflix show Harry & Meghan, said. “The rise in online harassment underscores the urgent need for robust legislation to counteract this escalating problem that affects everyone.”
Earlier this week, Larsen told Newsweek: “I have no intentions of going past Harry and Meghan’s house for that reason, just where [Meghan] grew up. I want to have the tour be available where she grew up. We’re going to go to Montecito but just places they go to, restaurants they go to.”
“It’s a custom tour so if people want to go see other sights that’s what we’re going to do but we will not go past [Meghan’s mother] Doria [Ragland’s] house and we will not go past Harry and Meghan’s,” Larsen added.
The original Viator listing read: “I’m the world-famous celebrity photographer Karl Larsen, a best friend of Thomas Markle [Meghan’s father] and the guy with a stunning exclusive portfolio of pictures of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle together in Montecito.
“I am the ONLY person in the world that knows the truth about what happened between Meghan Markle and her father ahead of her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018. There is nobody on the planet that knows more info than me and I’m the only person that’s qualified to put on such a tour.”
Jack Royston is chief royal correspondent for Newsweek, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.
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Update 8/25/23, 6:56 a.m. ET: This article was updated to reflect the fact Karl Larsen has relaunched the tour on a dedicated website.