Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry reportedly lent a message of support and assurance to Althea Bernstein, a 18-year-old young woman who was recently victimized in an alleged hate crime.
According to Channel 3000, the 40-minute call took place on Saturday and was confirmed by Bernstein’s spokesperson, Michael Johnson, the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County.
“Her and Meghan talked about the importance of self-care and allowing herself to heal,” Johnson told Channel 3000. “And she applauded her for the way that she responded and pretty much said, ‘Hey Michael, give me her cell phone number. I want to stay in touch. And let me know when you want me to come back and talk to people in Wisconsin.”
Johnson told the outlet that the two women talked about their shared biracial upbringing and also encouraged her to stay away from reading online comments.
“She’s struggling. It’s a challenge for her, it’s very, very emotional. I talked to her three or four times today, and I’ll tell you Meghan lifted her spirits,” said Johnson.
According to Johnson, Prince Harry also joined the call for 10 minutes.
Meghan also agreed to speak to other youth in the community at an upcoming virtual town hall event, according to Johnson.
A hate crime probe was launched after Althea was approached last Wednesday by four white men in Madison, Wisconsin, while she was stopped at a red light. She told officers that the men threw lighter fluid on her and lit it with a match, prompting her to be severely burned on her face and neck.
“I was listening to some music at a stoplight and then all of a sudden I heard someone yell the N-word really loud,” she said in an interview with Madison 365. “I turned my head to look and somebody’s throwing lighter fluid on me. And then they threw a lighter at me, and my neck caught on fire and I tried to put it out, but I brushed it up onto my face. I got it out and then I just blasted through the red light … I just felt like I needed to get away. So I drove through the red light and just kept driving until I got to my brother.”
Medical staff at the hospital corroborated that the fluid used was lighter fluid.
Local police say they are reviewing surveillance footage to capture the perpetrators. If located, the would face charges of attempted murder and recklessly endangering safety enhanced as hate crimes, according to CBS News.