It’s been a hectic 24 hours, with Piers Morgan quitting ITV’s Good Morning Britain shortly after he stormed off the set amid a clash over Meghan Markle.
On Tuesday evening (9 March), ITV announced that Morgan was stepping down as anchor of the morning show after six years.
The presenter’s departure came after both he and ITV attracted widespread criticism over comments he made about the Duchess of Sussex following her tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, including that he “didn’t believe a word” she said about having suicidal thoughts during her time as a senior royal.
GMB’s Alex Beresford, with whom Morgan had a heated debate with during Tuesday’s show (9 March) prior to the announcement of his exit that evening, has said that “Piers’ departure sincerely wasn’t the conclusion I was hoping for”.
The weatherman added: “I didn’t want him to quit, but I did want him to listen.”
Morgan’s exit has prompted a mixed reaction from viewers with many people celebrating the presenter’s departure. However, an online petition urging ITV to reinstate Morgan in his position as co-anchor of GMB has reached over 22,000 signatures in just two days.
Sharon Osbourne has also spoken out in support of Morgan. During an appearance onThis Show yesterday (10 March), the former X-Factor judge tearfully defended the controversial presenter.
Others celebrities, however, have welcomed the news. Chelsea Handler recently shared a clip from a 2014 interview with Morgan, in which the pair engage in a heated conversation. The American comedian captioned it: “Some a**holes get better, some just stay the same.”
Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom received more than 41,000 complaints after Morgan claimed he did not believe that Markle had suffered from suicidal thoughts after being overwhelmed by press scrutiny into her personal life. ITV was also widely criticised for “allowing” Morgan to air these views while running their Britain Get Talking mental health campaign.
Following the backlash, Morgan later said he wanted to “clarify his position on mental health”. He added that his “disbelief” was over her claims that “she went to a senior member of the royal household, told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family”.
Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trialSign up
Yesterday morning (10 March), GMB returned to screens without Morgan in his usual seat for the first time. Speaking about his decision, the 55-year-old revealed he is “in talks” regarding his presenting future, adding: “I’ll be back”.
You can relive all of the dramatic moments from the last 24 hours below, as well as some of the major talking points so far.
- Susanna Reid addresses Piers Morgan’s exit for the first time live on GMB
- ‘Your tears are weapons’: Sharon Osbourne criticised for tearful defence of Piers Morgan on The Talk
- Chelsea Handler calls out Piers Morgan in resurfaced video: ‘Some a**holes stay the same’
- ITV lost £300m in market value after Piers Morgan’s departure from GMB
Morgan has spoken to Sky News, saying that he doesn’t believe he went “too far” with his comments about Meghan.
“If people think it’s over for me, it’s not, I’ll be back,” he told the network, adding that he was “in talks” regarding his presenting future.
US late night talk show host Stephen Colbert has celebrated Morgan’s departure from ITV.
“Tomorrow’s going to be a great morning, Britain,” quipped the presenter in the opening segment of The Late Show last night (9 March).
Referring to Markle’s revelation during the recent Oprah Winfrey interview that there were “concerns” raised during her pregnancy about “how dark” the baby’s skin might be, Colbert added: “Piers is such a baby that someone at Buckingham Palace just asked what colour he is gonna be.”
Morgan’s departure from Good Morning Britain was announced on Tuesday
Yesterday evening (9 March), it was revealed that broadcasting regulator Ofcom had received more than 41,000 complaints about Morgan’s behaviour.
An investigation will be launched into whether his comments broke the UK broadcasting code in regards to harm and offence.
Speaking to Sky News, Morgan has said that he has “fall[en] on his sword” and condemned the “damage” Markle has done to the British monarchy as “frankly contemptible”.
“If people want to believe Meghan Markle, that’s entirely their right,” said the presenter.
He continued: “I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth. I think the damage she has done to the British monarchy, to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is enormous and frankly contemptible.
“So if I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it.”
Addressing reporters in Kensington this morning, Morgan told Sky News that he will not be “cancelled” by “the woke crowd”.
The 55-year-old said: “I think it’s fair to say, although the woke crowd will think that they’ve cancelled me, I think they will be rather disappointed when I re-emerge.
“I would call it a temporary hibernation.”
In light of his exit from GMB, Morgan also paid tribute to his “late, great manager” John Ferriter.
“He’d have told me to do exactly the same thing @GMB #TrustYourGut,” wrote the presenter.
Ferriter – whose clients also included Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly and Ryan Seacrest – died aged 59 from pancreatitis in 2019.
Morgan has taken to Twitter in celebration of Good Morning Britain’s ratings.
“BREAKING NEWS: Good Morning Britain beat BBC Breakfast in the ratings yesterday for the first time. My work is done,” wrote the ex-GMB presenter.
Yesterday’s (9 March) episode saw Morgan abruptly leave the set of the morning show after co-star Alex Beresford criticised him for “trashing” Markle.
Morgan stood up and walked away, saying: “OK, I’m done with this.” He had returned to the show by 7.00am.
Morgan was branded a ‘snowflake’ and ‘spoiled brat’ for his actions this morning 9 March
Former footballer Gary Lineker has further explained his previous statement of support for Morgan.
The sports broadcaster wrote that he disagrees with Morgan’s “bizarre, obsessive rants at Harry & Meghan”, however, added that “I also agree with some of what he says. The same as most people I know.”
He added: “Everything’s so tribal these days. You seemingly have to pick a side on absolutely everything.”
Lineker previously shared support for the presenter last night (9 March), stating: “@Piersmorgan is excellent at what he does and I’m sure he will be on the tell soon.”
Morgan appeared to double down on his criticism of Markle this morning, calling her comments about the royal family that were given in the recent Oprah Winfrey interview a “diatribe of bilge”.
Jameela Jamil has shared her satisfaction over Morgan’s exit from GMB.
Jamil – who has long been an outspoken critic of Morgan’s – revealed on Twitter that she had suicidal thoughts last year because of the presenter’s “relentless campaign of lies and hatred” against her.
‘May we never have to watch minorities have to go on mainstream news and have to defend their right to be treated with dignity and respect ever again’, she said
The actor wrote: “I almost killed myself a year ago because of Piers Morgan’s relentless campaign of lies and hatred against me last February. I’m glad I’m still alive today for many reasons.
“But watching him leave GMB today is right up there and has me feeling...” Jamil shared a GIF of herself flipping her hair on the Emmys red carpet.
The Independent has contacted a representative of Morgan’s for comment.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies