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Piers Morgan to leave Good Morning Britain, ITV says

Departure comes after Ofcom launched probe into comments presenter made about Duchess of Sussex

Sam Hancock
Wednesday 10 March 2021 11:36 GMT
Piers Morgan walks out of GMB after criticism from Alex Beresford
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Piers Morgan has stepped down as an anchor of ITV’s Good Morning Britain after six years, the broadcaster has announced.

It comes as Ofcom confirmed it was investigating comments Morgan 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.

“I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said ... I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report,” Morgan told viewers of Monday’s show, before later referring to Meghan as “Pinocchio Princess” on social media.

The regulator said it received more than 41,000 complaints about Morgan’s remarks, making it one of the most reported incidents on TV, only slightly behind the Shilpa Shetty race row on Big Brother in 2007 which attracted 44,500 complaints.

Follow Piers Morgan updates live: Ex-GMB presenter says he is ‘uncancellable’ as Meghan ‘lodges official complaint’

Morgan’s co-anchor Susanna Reid called his response to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview “a pathetic reaction” on air, and mental health charity Mind labelled it “concerning” and “disappointing”.

An ITV spokesperson said in a statement: “Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain. ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.”

Following the announcement, Morgan tweeted: “Thinking of my late, great manager John Ferriter tonight. He’d have told me to do exactly the same thing.”

On Tuesday, Morgan stormed off the set of the news programme after clashing with weather presenter Alex Beresford, who criticised him for “continuing to trash” Meghan. He returned within 10 minutes and later defended his actions on Twitter.

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He appeared to backtrack on his initial condemnation of Meghan, following the reaction to his comments on Monday, accepting that while he may “still have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what” Meghan said, it was “not for me to question if she felt suicidal”.

But he added: “My real concern was a disbelief frankly ... that she went to a senior member of the Royal household and told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family.”

ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall had already moved to distance herself from Morgan’s views, saying earlier she “completely believed what [Meghan] says” and that that ITV is “totally committed to” mental health.

Mind, the charity which criticised Morgan, is an official partner of ITV and said as part of its statement that it was “in talks with” the broadcaster.

On Wednesday morning, Morgan took to Twitter to officially comment on his departure from the show. “On Monday, I said I didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview. I’ve had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t,” he wrote.

“If you did, OK. Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on. Thanks for all the love, and hate. I’m off to spend more time with my opinions.”

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