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
Society of Editors chief resigns over body’s response to Meghan racism claims
It turns out Piers isn’t the only UK media figure to lose their job in the wake of the Oprah interview.
The Executive Director of journalism trade body the Society of Editors has stepped down after the organisation came under fire for its response to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s accusations of racism.
Resignation comes as publications withdrew from society’s annual awards over claim ‘UK media is not bigoted’
Piers Morgan calls Meghan's accusations against royals 'diatribe of bilge'
Appearing on his doorstep earlier today, Piers Morgan called Meghan’s accusations against royals a ‘diatribe of bilge’.
Here’s the clip from the team at Independent TV:
Sharon Osbourne has been accused of “weaponising” her tears after emotionally defending Morgan.
Appearing on The Talk on Wednesday (10 March), Osbourne became defensive as she explained her support for Morgan to co-host Sheryl Underwood.
Osbourne clutched a tissue while defending her friendship with Morgan on the US talk show
“I feel like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is racist, so that makes me a racist,” Osbourne said.
Underwood calmly replied that it wasn’t “exact words of racism” but “the implication and the reaction to it” and that she wasn’t trying to accuse Osbourne of being racist.
“I think it’s too late, I think that seed’s already sewn,” Osbourne responded.
The clip was widely shared on social media, with Twitter users accusing the former X Factor judge of “gaslighting” her co-star.
A clip of a 2014 interview between Morgan and Chelsea Handler has gone viral on social media.
Handler shared the video on social media, accompanied by the caption: “Some a**holes get better, some just stay the same.”
In it, Handler and Morgan are seen engaging in a heated exchange after she calls out the presenter for using his phone in the ad break.
Reese Witherspoon and Dax Shepard have supported Handler in her criticism of the ex-GMB host
“You’re a terrible interviewer,” says Handler, to which Morgan responds: “Well, you just weren’t keeping my attention. That’s more an issue for you than me.”
The interaction concludes with Handler stating: “Maybe that’s why your job is coming to an end”, referring to CNN’s announcement a month earlier that Morgan’s show Piers Morgan Live was due to be cancelled by the network.
A number of celebrities have supported Handler’s criticism of Morgan, including Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Dax Shepherd, Kristen Bell and January Jones.
Morgan has thanked Sharon Osbourne for being a “true friend”.
Osbourne has passionately defended the presenter amid the controversy, firstly with a tweet shared on Tuesday (9 March) and again during a controversial appearance on The Talk Show for which she was accused of gaslighting her co-host.
“When stuff like this happens, true friends run towards you, fake friends run away. I love Sharon Osbourne because she always stays true to herself,” wrote ex-GMB anchor.
“She knew she would get abused by the woke brigade for tweeting this – but did it anyway because it [is] what she believes.”
ITV has lost more than £300m in market value following Morgan’s exit from GMB on Tuesday (9 March).
Broadcaster’s share price falls 6.5% hours after Good Morning Britain host quits breakfast programme
Within just a few hours of the controversial presenter quitting the broadcaster’s share price had fallen 6.5 per cent, enough to wipe about £320m from its total value.
The presenter has taken to Twitter in celebration of GMB’s ratings.
Morgan said that he had “one goal” upon joining the breakfast programme in 2014 – to “beat @BBCBreakfast in the ratings”.
He wrote: “On my last day, we did it. That was down to the hard work & dedication of the whole team.
“They don’t all agree with me, some don’t even like me, but we were a team..and we won.”
Morgan signed off by thanking his colleagues and stating: “I’ll miss you.”
He accompanied the post with a festive photograph of the GMB team on set.
GMB staff reportedly complained about Morgan’s comments concerning Meghan Markle.
Prior to his exit from the show, multiple staff members on the ITV breakfast programme had made complaints to senior managers in relation to the presenter’s remarks about the Duchess, according to The Guardian.
Sources within GMB’s editorial and production staff told the publication that “dozens of people inside Good Morning Britain were also uncomfortable about his intervention, with some making complaints”.
One unnamed source said: “Everyone is used to Piers saying things like this, but Meghan had literally said that the media wasn’t treating her fairly because of who she is, and he was just doing it again.”
The Independent has contacted ITV for comment.
Jim Davidson has put himself forward as a candidate to replace Morgan on GMB.
As part of his “Lockdown Diary” series, Davidson uploaded an “audition” video for ITV’s hit show.
“‘Thank you for seeing me, it’s nice to be here in the offices of Good Morning Britain to apply for the job of presenter,” he said.
“Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jim Davidson, I’ve been in showbiz news for 226 years.”
He went on to list highlights from his CV, and added: “I’m not without controversy and I am able to argue with people I don’t like.”
In September last year, the 67-year-old caused outrage after posting a racist YouTube rant condemning Diversity’s Black Lives Matter performance.
Kate Garraway has spoken about Morgan’s exit on GMB this morning (11 March).
Opening the show with co-host Ben Shephard, Garraway spoke fondly of her former co-star, stating that he has “been very supportive of me personally”.
She added: “That’s the thing about Piers, isn’t it, he’s very passionate, he does fly kites and have debates but it always comes from a place of authenticity. He always believes in what he says. And he’s left.”
“He’s decided to quit and as he put it himself, fall on the sword of free speech.”
Speaking to reporters outside his London home yesterday (10 March), Morgan said that “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.”
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