Piers Morgan resigned as a co-host of ITV’s Good Morning Britain breakfast show after critical comments he made about the Duchess of Sussex’s mental health sparked an on-air dispute with a colleague and an Ofcom investigation.
Pressure had mounted on Morgan since he made the comments on Monday’s edition of the show, which followed the broadcast of Meghan and Prince Harry’s revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey in the United States on Sunday night.
The Guardian understands that a formal complaint was filed with ITV on behalf of the Duchess after the broadcast.
By early Tuesday afternoon, Ofcom had received more than 41,000 complaints about Morgan’s behavior, prompting the broadcasting regulator to launch an investigation into whether his comments violated the UK broadcasting code related to damages and offenses. .
Just a couple of hours later, ITV issued a statement saying: “Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided that now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain. ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing more to add ”.
In Winfrey’s interview, Meghan detailed how her mental health had deteriorated while pregnant amid a barrage of negative press and the lack of support from “the company,” the apparatus that surrounds the royal house, which she had repeatedly rejected. His calls for help and discouraged her from leaving the house for months.
“It was all happening just because I was breathing,” Meghan said, breaking down in tears during the interview, which was broadcast on ITV on Monday night. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. That was a clear, real, scary and constant thought. “
She told Winfrey that she had asked to go somewhere to get help with these suicidal thoughts, but one of the most important people in the institution of the monarchy told her that it would not look good.
Morgan questioned in Monday’s GMB whether he was telling the truth. “Who did you go to?” he said. “What did they tell you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word he said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if you read me a weather report.”
The comments sparked a backlash, and it is understood that ITV executives wanted Morgan to apologize for them on-air. During Tuesday’s show, Morgan said: “When we discussed this yesterday, I said that I don’t believe what Meghan Markle is saying in general in this interview, and I still have serious concerns about the veracity of many of what she said.
But let me put my position on mental illness and suicide on the record. These are clearly extremely serious things to be taken very seriously, and if someone feels this way, they should receive the treatment and help they need at all times. “
On the same show, Morgan left the set after an argument about Meghan with her colleague Alex Beresford. The weathercaster defended the couple, telling Morgan: “I understand you have a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or you did, and she cut you off. He has the right to interrupt you if he wants to. Has he said anything about you since he interrupted you? I don’t think I did, but you still keep throwing it away. “
As Beresford continued, Morgan got up and stormed out of the studio, saying, “Okay, I’m done with this, sorry, no, I can’t do this.” Beresford called her behavior “pathetic” and “diabolical,” while co-host Susanna Reid was forced to send the show on an early break.
Beresford later tweeted about the discussion, in which he also shared some of his own experiences of racism: “I wish I had the privilege of sitting on the fence. In order to do that, I would have to strip myself of my identity and that is not something I can do. It is not one of our places to separate claims of racism to make us feel more comfortable. “
ITV CEO Dame Carolyn McCall later said the dispute was not “fabricated.”
McCall added that ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment, Kevin Lygo, had been in talks with Morgan in recent days about his coverage of the Harry and Meghan interview. He said Good Morning Britain was a balanced show, adding: “ITV has many voices and we try to represent many voices every day. This is not just one opinion. “
Among those who reacted to Morgan’s departure from GMB, where he has been a co-host since 2015, was Lorraine Kelly, who hosts the 9 a.m. show on ITV that follows. She told the BBC’s The One Show that Morgan had just emailed her with the news and said she “had no real details.”
“It’s certainly going to be calmer,” he said. “We all wish him the best … As I say, it will be calmer.”
Piers Morgan tweeted Tuesday night: “Thinking of my late great manager John Ferriter tonight. He would have told me to do the exact same thing. @GMB #TrustYourGut ”
In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be reached by calling 116 123 or by emailing [email protected] or [email protected] In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Line is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the Lifeline crisis support service is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism