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
A petition urging ITV to reinstate Morgan as GMB’s co-anchor has reached over 20,000 signatures in just two days.
“How ITV have treated Piers Morgan after he saved one of their failing shows is appalling”, the petition reads. “They have thrown him under the bus and allowed him to be bullied by a colleague on air” – likely a reference to Tuesday’s (9 March) confrontation between Morgan and co-star Alex Beresford that prompted the presenter to walk off set abruptly.
“Piers has turned the show into the most talked about show on ITV. He was the only person who spoke on behalf of viewers during the pandemic and now he’s been bullied by the snowflakes all for speaking the truth.”
Speaking about his presenting future yesterday Morgan said that he is in a “temporary hibernation” but told reporters: “I’ll be back.”
The Welsh health minister has called Morgan’s comments about Markle “wholly unacceptable”.
Vaughan Gething said that he fears the presenter’s remarks about mental health “would have set a number of people back”.
“I thought Piers Morgan’s comments about not believing what Meghan Markle had to say about her mental health was wholly unacceptable, incredibly unkind and exactly where we should not be in public debate and discourse,” he added.
“I think the comments and the tone of them I think would have set a number of people back and that highly judgmental approach is really unhealthy and unhelpful.”
Celia Walden, Morgan’s wife, has shared a joke video following the presenter’s exit from GMB.
Walden, who has been married to Morgan for 10 years, shared a parody video – created by comedian Alexandra Haddow – on her Instagram account.
The clip (titled “Piers Morgan’s wife waking up this morning”) shows a woman, who is supposed to be Walden, waking up peacefully only to be shocked at the sight of “Morgan” next to her after years of mornings spent alone.
Morgan has been working on GMB since 2014.
Walden accompanied Haddow’s video with the caption: “Right on the money”.
The Independent’s Tom Peck has written an op-ed about Piers Morgan’s popularity.
Calling the ex-GMB presenter “the self-appointed and self-created chief world troll”, Peck writes that anyone hoping the value of Morgan’s stock tumbling in light of recent events are “highly likely to be disappointed”.
Naturally, the inner smallness of the real man is revealed through the tactics of the persona
Peck reflected on Morgan’s “time campaigning for gun control in the US via his show on CNN”, pointing out that “when he interviewed Donald Trump spent less time asking him about that than he did trying to give him a personalised Arsenal shirt”.
He adds that getting upset with the presenter is “like getting angry with Borat” and adds that “the inner smallness of the real man is revealed through the tactics of the persona”.
BBC News accidentally called on the wrong guest to speak about Morgan’s departure.
News presenter Reeta Chakrabarti introduced Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (activist, lawyer and author of This Is Why I Resist) onto the programme to speak about Morgan’s GMB exit.
The guest on screen, however, was not Dr Shola and therefore did not respond to Chakrabarti’s repeated calls asking for “Dr Shola”.
“I’m so sorry, clearly we’re having some trouble there,” said the reporter. “Let’s move on. We’ll try and get her a little bit later.”
Dr Shola later shared a clip of the humorous on-air blunder, accompanied with the caption: “Moment BBC called for Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu... that’s not me I’m afraid [crying laughter face emoji].”
She did later appear on BBC News to speak with Chakrabarti and condemned Morgan’s comments.
“There’s no denying that his malicious obsession of Meghan Markle is truly reprehensible,” she said.
“His irrational dislike of her has caused him or led him to abuse his position as a host of one of the national platforms in the country and that means he inevitably escalates and aggravates the bigoted, racist, and misogynistic attacks on Meghan Markle.”
Viewers were confused to find that Susanna Reid was missing from GMB this morning (11 March).
Reid, who usually presents the ITV show with Ben Shephard on Thursdays, was nowhere to be seen on the programme’s latest instalment.
She usually hosts Thursday episodes with Ben Shephard
The anchor’s absence comes just one day after she explained Morgan’s departure from the show.
The presenter addressed his exit on Wednesday (10 March) in a speech at the beginning of the show, in which she called Morgan “an outspoken, challenging, opinionated, disruptive” broadcaster.
Here’s a rundown of what Morgan has said in the days since his ITV exit was announced on Tuesday evening (9 March)...
On his decision to leave GMB...
- Morgan described the departure as “amicable”.
- “I had a good chat with ITV and we agreed to disagree.”
- Asked what he would say to GMB co-star Alex Beresford, with whom he had a heated confrontation during Tuesday’s show (9 March) that prompted Morgan to walk off set, the presenter replied: “Good luck to him.”
On his future career...
- “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.”
- He added that he is “always in talks with people”
On Meghan Markle...
- “I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth and I think the damage she’s done to the British monarchy and to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible.”
- “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.”
- Following his exit from the show, the ex-GMB host tweeted that he “had time to reflect” on his previous remarks in which he said he did not believe Markle in her Oprah interview, and concluded: “I still don’t.”
Dr Hilary Jones has defended Morgan, stating that he “champion[ed] the little people”.
The presenter spoke out in support of his former co-star during today’s GMB instalment (11 March), saying that Morgan has a “very generous heart” and that he is “generous to a fault”.
The 67-year-old continued: “I had my spats with Piers, but he took politicians to account [...] he probed and he pushed and he was well researched.
“I think he did champion the little people, the people who had no voice.”
Jones added that Morgan “did a great deal to look after the mental health of the NHS staff”.
“He championed the fact they were under the cosh and that they were working very hard. He offered to pay their ludicrous parking fines at hospitals, and actually did that. He had a very generous heart.”
GMB’s Alex Beresford has publicly addressed Morgan’s exit from the ITV breakfast show.
Beresford spoke out about his former co-star’s departure in a lengthy statement shared on Twitter, writing: “I didn’t want him to quit, but I did want him to listen.”
The weatherman said: “Piers’ departure sincerely wasn’t the conclusion I was hoping for.”
‘I hoped we could reach a place of understanding,’ said the presenter
He went on to address the heated exchange that occurred between the two presenters on Tuesday’s show (9 March) over Morgan’s comments about Meghan Markle. The on-air argument prompted Morgan to walk off set abruptly. ITV announced his exit from GMB later that evening.
“We both wanted to be on the show Tuesday morning [the day after Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview aired in the UK], and from our very public conversations on Twitter, we both knew how strongly our opinions differed on the treatment of Harry and Meghan pre and post the interview that has split the world,” said Beresford.
The 40-year-old said that it is “sad” that the pair could not “reach a place of understanding”.
He added that he is “grateful” to Morgan for giving him advice on “several occasions” and said that “Piers has always supported my growth”.
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