Piers Morgan is an arrogant arse on a good day. In a manner akin to Jeremy Clarkson, that is what makes him a good broadcaster. He does not believe the ex Duchess of Sussex. Given that the Royal Family in the UK can and have had the leaders of any medical profession work with them, I don’t believe her claims that she could not have got help.
But when the ex Duchess complains to ITV and gets him sacked “because it may have affected someone who is mentally ill” I have nothing but contempt. Morgan refused to apologise. He resigned instead.
Queen Victoria would have approved.
They were concerned about the way the broadcaster insisted Mr Morgan apologise for expressing his opinion, saying journalists should be ‘free to express their scepticism’ about statements made by high-profile people without the risk of losing their job. Toby Young, of The Free Speech Union, expressed fears it looked like ITV was ‘happy to censure’ a journalist ‘at the request of a member of the Royal Family’. Former BBC presenter Andrew Neil, who is launching new channel GB News, said he wished to talked to Mr Morgan about a role, saying he would be a ‘great asset’.
Meghan wrote to ITV’s boss to complain about Mr Morgan hours before the GMB co-host quit following an on-screen row with weatherman Alex Beresford. The Duchess of Sussex insists she was not upset that Mr Morgan said he ‘didn’t believe a word she said’ in her Oprah interview – but was worried about how his comments could affect people attempting to deal with their own mental health problems, an insider told the Press Association.
Standing firm today, Mr Morgan told reporters outside his West London home: ‘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.’
On Monday Ms Markle went directly to ITV’s CEO Dame Carolyn McCall, the former boss of the left-wing Guardian newspaper, who signed off on the broadcaster’s £1million deal to show the Oprah interview and said yesterday they were ‘dealing with’ the GMB host. Mr Morgan is understood to have been ordered to apologise – but he refused and quit instead saying he had the right to tell viewers his ‘honestly held opinions’ and declaring: ‘Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on’.
His departure from ITV’s breakfast show, which he helped transform into a ratings hit that beat its BBC rival for the first time yesterday, came amid the fallout from the extraordinary Oprah interview that has caused the Royal Family’s worst crisis since Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936.
Hours after it was broadcast Mr Morgan branded Meghan ‘Princess Pinocchio’ after the Duchess said she was suicidal while five months pregnant but was denied any help by the palace. She also accused the Royal Family of being concerned Archie’s skin would be too ‘dark’ and denying him the title of prince because he is mixed race, with Mr Morgan demanding the Sussexes back up their claims with evidence.
His views, and his refusal to back down in the row, sparked more than 41,000 complaints made to Ofcom, fuelled by an orchestrated social media campaign spearheaded by his critics including several Labour MPs. But despite Mr Morgan’s years of successful skewering of ministers on the show, which led to a Government boycotts if GMB during the pandemic, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he ‘would miss him’.
The Duchess of Sussex’s decision to intervene in the row came as Mr Morgan doubled down today after leaving GMB, calling Meghan’s incendiary claims to Oprah about the Royal Family ‘contemptible’ and declaring: ‘I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth’.
He added: ‘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’, before revealing that he left on the day more people watched GMB than its BBC rival, five years after Piers transformed the ITV ratings flop. He tweeted later: ‘Good Morning Britain beat BBC Breakfast in the ratings yesterday for the first time. My work is done’.
Mr Morgan described his departure from the programme he helped transform into a ratings hit as ‘amicable’, saying: ‘I had a good chat with ITV and we agreed to disagree.’ He added: ‘I’m just going to take it easy and see how we go. I believe in freedom of speech, I believe in the right to be allowed to have an opinion. If people want to believe Meghan Markle, that’s entirely their right’.
And in a message for his critics he 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.’ He added that he is ‘always in talks with people’.
Never apologize. Make them fire you, or make them give a good severance deal. And ensure that the rubble bounces.
And never use the oppressed as a rhetorical weapon if you want to sleep at night or have people respect you in the morning.