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”.
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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
The trending hashtag #BringBackPiers – intended to urge ITV to reinstate the presenter in his anchor position on GMB – has been co-opted by many users on Twitter to share photos of various piers.
“We should definitely #bringbackpiers – for fun, fishing, and fresh air,” wrote one user who shared a photo of Brighton pier.
Another person quipped: “I love a good pier, it’s nice to see them getting some attention #bringbackpiers”, while a third added: “#bringbackpiers why are they getting rid of piers I quite like this one.”
Someone else said: “My heart sank a bit seeing #bringbackpiers trending but then looking and seeing so many people jumping on the hashtag and sharing actual piers is just what my soul needed this morning.”
Alastair Campbell has commended Morgan on “holding the government of liars and charlatans to account on Covid” although said that he “has been going over the top Re Meghan and Harry”.
The former press secretary to Tony Blair shared his thoughts about the controversial presenter in a lengthy Twitter post.
“It is possible to think as I do that @piersmorgan is one of a small number of journalists who has done a very good job holding the government of liars and charlatans to account on Covid. And that he has been going over the top Re Meghan and Harry,” he said.
Campbell added: “It is possible to think Piers is a bit of a narcissist and that he has other qualities that I admire like resilience, wit and kindness. Yes, kindness. I know of several instances where that word would apply.”
Speaking about Markle’s comments regarding the royal family, the 63-year-old said: “It’s possible to think Meghan may have been badly treated and that the Queen is a remarkable woman.”
Campbell concluded his post – which also applauded the government’s vaccination scheme – stating: “There are shades of grey in everything and we need more of them in the way we debate”.
“Ps it is not possible to support 2 football teams,” he quipped.
Reports have emerged that Morgan allegedly exited GMB after he refused to apologise to Markle during Tuesday’s show (9 March).
The Telegraph reports that ITV bosses had requested that Morgan issue an on-air apology to the duchess but that the presenter refused.
The Independent has contacted a representative of ITV for comment.
According to PA, the official complaint that was reportedly lodged to ITV on behalf of Markle did not concern Morgan calling into question the validity of her comments, such as those she made about experiencing racism or previously having suicidal thoughts.
The publication reports that the complaint is understood to focus on how Morgan’s comments might affect mental health conversations in general, and how the presenter’s remarks may have a negative impact on viewers struggling with their own mental health.
A video of Morgan describing his association with the Duchess of Sussex before she met Prince Harry has resurfaced on social media.
In the clip – taken from a 2018 interview with Irish broadcaster RTE – Morgan recalls his association with the former Suits star back in 2016.
The ex-GMB presenter claims that the pair struck up a friendship on Twitter in 2015 but that Markle eventually “ghosted” him after she went on “a solo dinner” with Prince Harry.
He added: “It hurts because I really liked her. I just think she’s a slight social climber, I’m afraid.”
Some social media users have suggested that the interaction may have been a factor in Morgan’s attitude to the Duchess in the years since.
BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker has taken aim at Morgan in the wake of his departure from GMB.
“To all the shouty, sweary people telling me I’m nothing like you know who... thank you,” he wrote on Twitter in a likely reference to the abusive comments Walker received following his earlier condemnation of Morgan’s behaviour.
The 43-year-old continued: “If you want a programme happy to exploit issues like mental health to create controversy, division & clicks I’m delighted to say... you’re in the wrong place.”
He signed off: “Have a wonderful Wednesday.”
The Chase star Jenny Ryan has said that Morgan’s decision to leave GMB comes as a “blessed relief”.
Ryan – who appears as a quizzer known as The Vixen on ITV’s hit show – admitted that she had previously turned down interviews on GMB due to its outspoken host.
“I’d run out of excuses as to why I could only appear on GMB during the holidays, so this is a blessed relief,” she wrote. Morgan and co-host Susanna Reid usually take a break from presenting the morning show during the holidays.
Responding to a follower who had commented that they “enjoyed Piers making examples out of incompetent politicians”, Ryan said: “A stopped clock is right twice a day!”
If you are just joining us, here are the main points of what has happened so far:
- Susanna Reid addressed Morgan’s absence this morning on GMB
- Morgan told reporters that he will not be “cancelled” by the “woke crowd”
- Morgan said that he “fell on his sword” following exit from ITV show
- Morgan doubled down on criticism of Markle, stating “damage” done to the Queen and royal family is “frankly contemptible”
- A 2018 interview has resurfaced in which Morgan claims Markle “ghosted” him after meeting Prince Harry
Markle’s close friend Janina Gavankar has said there are “many texts and emails to support” Markle’s statements that the royal household were aware of her mental health struggles – something that Morgan has disputed.
After the ex-GMB presenter made his initial comments on Monday (10 March) stating that he did not “believe a word [Markle] said”, he followed up the next day 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”.
During an appearance on This Morning, however, Gavankar has defended Markle, stating: “I know that the family and the staff were well aware of the extent of it and though their recollections may vary, ours don’t because we lived through it with them. And there are many emails and texts to support that.”
Host Phillip Schofield asked: “Are you saying that the whole family and the whole staff knew that there was a woman within the palace walls who was deeply suffering?”
“I don’t know who knew. I know that the family and the staff knew,” replied Gavankar.
ITV shares have fallen in the wake of Morgan’s exit from GMB.
As reported by Reuters, shares in the British broadcaster have dropped with traders attributing at least part of the dip to Morgan’s resignation from Good Morning Britain.
The publications reports that shares in ITV were down 4.9 per cent in early morning trading.
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