Once again, Piers Morgan has shown that he just didn’t know when to stop.
Seventeen years ago, he was fired as editor of the Daily Mirror after posting false pictures of abusing Iraqi prisoners. A decade later, he was fired by CNN after he lost his American audience to a series of lectures on gun control.
However, so far, Morgan has found a way to recover, capable even of justifying failures that would have ended other careers. But his persistent attacks on Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, seemed increasingly callous, to the point that even he could not justify them.
Instead, the normally wordy man simply walked off the set of Good Morning Britain, the show he had hosted for six years. Facing criticism from co-host Alex Beresford, a visibly enraged Morgan could only say, “I’m done with this” as he got up and headed “See you later, sorry, I can’t do this.”
A day earlier, Morgan drew widespread criticism, and more than 40,000 complaints from viewers, after saying that she did not believe Meghan’s revelation that she had considered taking her own life. “I don’t believe a word you say, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report. “
It was a car accident that, in hindsight, was easy to see coming. Morgan had been criticizing Meghan in extraordinary terms for months. When she and her husband, Harry, announced they were leaving office as active royals, he accused them of being “greedy, selfish and scheming Kardashian wannabes.”
Once, surprisingly, the two were even friendly, a revelation that made the recent attacks harder to digest. They met in 2016 in a London pub after she came to Wimbledon to see another of her friends, multiple champion Serena Williams, but he complained that she had dropped all contact with him once she met Harry. .
“I still like Meghan, despite her disconcerting tendency to ‘ghost’ people when they have served their purpose,” Morgan tweeted in 2018. It was something she was looking to remind viewers of in the run-up to Oprah’s interview, complaining her. had “abandoned [him] like a sack of potatoes ”- suggesting that his criticisms of her were largely fueled by little more than personal animus.
It was far from the only dispute Morgan had been embroiled in in recent weeks. Just a month earlier, 1,200 television executives signed an open letter accusing the host of being involved in the public harassment of Adeel Amini, who had worked with him as an investigator on Life Stories a decade earlier.
When Amini, now a producer, tweeted that he would not accept the job today, Morgan responded on the social network, claiming that he “would rather employ a lobotomized anteater.”
Breakfast show co-host Susanna Reid recently admitted that working alongside Morgan made her cry in the early days. “I used to get a lot of targeted abuse because someone didn’t like what the person sitting next to me was saying,” she said. Relations had improved, he added, but the dynamics on the show were never easy, he said in a recent interview. “We fight like Punch and Judy, verbally.”
Last year, Downing Street boycotted GMB for months after Morgan participated in a pair of combative interviews with Minister of Care Helen Whateley, which critics described as harassment. In one, she accused him of repeatedly interrupting her – insisting that she “had no answer” about the amount of Covid testing being done.
That led to something of a brief resurgence in Morgan’s reputation in some circles, as angry No. 10 advisers refused to allow ministers to participate in the breakfast show and the presenter seized the opportunity to criticize the government in their absence. for his handling of the first wave. of the deadly pandemic.
It was typical of a man who seemed addicted to getting into fights, and one that Rupert Murdoch, his former boss at News of the World, where he was an editor before the Mirror, long ago described having “balls bigger than his brain.”
Some of the skirmishes along the way were legendary, including a fight nearly two decades ago with Jeremy Clarkson after a particularly boisterous night at the British Press Awards. A drunken Clarkson struck Morgan, who had allegedly insulted his wife, around 11:30, leaving visible bruises on the then-tabloid editor’s forehead.
But there were many examples of other, more serious misjudgments. At the Mirror he successfully survived a scandal, buying shares in a company that was later reported by the newspaper’s business columnists, the City Slickers, claiming they knew nothing of his intentions.
An eight-year reign in the left-wing tabloid ended when he was fired for posting what turned out to be fake photographs purporting to show British soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees. Characteristically, Morgan had even refused to apologize when it became clear that his job was at stake. “If no one knows the provenance of these photographs, why should we apologize?” he said the day they forced him out.
Only Morgan could delight in the prospect of such falls from grace. His Twitter profile has long contained the quote “One day you are the rooster of the walk, the next a feather duster” attributed to his grandmother. But his comments about Meghan put him in a position where he risks being sidelined.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism