Last month, we reported on the controversy surrounding an upcoming Lifetime movie about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
From the moment the project was announced, there were concerns that it would offer an exploitative take on a timely and important story
Now, those fears have been compounded by the release of promotional stills which indicate that the film is taking an even more scandalous approach to the material than previously expected.
Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace is set to premiere this weekend, and in order to drum up publicity, Lifetime has released photos of what we hope is the movie's most shocking scene.
According to The Mirror, the scene depicts a dream sequence in which Meghan is killed in a car accident while fleeing from paparazzi.
As you may have guessed, the scene is meant to evoke memories of Princess Diana's death.
Perhaps the filmmakers thought they were offering some sort of insightful commentary on the similarities between the two women's situations.
But the early reaction from the public suggests that the scene is being recognized for what it is:
A shameless and indecent act of exploitation designed to stir controversy and attract attention to cut-rate TV movie that thus far has received very little notice from the media.
As though the photos themselves weren't appalling enough, the promotional package that was sent to media outlets contains a phrase that seems to hint at the notion of Harry and Meghan's situation ending in tragedy:
"Not all fairy tales have the perfect ending."
While the full context of the scene won't be known until the film premieres, the photos show actress Sydney Morton -- who portrays Meghan -- lying in a car wreck surrounded by paparazzi.
Actor Jordan Dean rushes to her rescue just as Meghan awakens from the dream and finds herself in bed with her infant son Archie by her side.
To make the whole situation even more macabre, the photos were released just says after the 24th anniversary of Diana's passing.
This year has seen a number of tributes to Diana including the unveiling of a memorial statue in London that was attended by both Harry and Prince William.
The the film seems to be capitalizing on this sentiment, a fact that has left many critics in shock.
Obviously, Harry and Meghan are no strangers to media outlets capitalizing on their unique story for profit.
But the Lifetime film is a shocking example of what happens when that sort of exploitation goes too far.
Thus far, there's been no word of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex pursuing legal action against Lifetime, and the network might be protected by the fact that the film is a work of fiction.
Whatever the case, the negative publicity might lead network execs to regret pursuing such a controversial project.
The feeling among Americans is that Meghan and Harry have been victimized by the British media to an absurd degree, and they relocated to California in pursuit of freedom.
So it's bitterly ironic that they're now being subjected to such appalling treatment by Hollywood filmmakers.