Inside Piers Morgan’s exit from Good Morning Britain
Host departs after clash with ITV executives over Meghan Markle mental health coverage
Piers Morgan has always flown close to the sun with his comments on Good Morning Britain (GMB). But after he poured scorn on Meghan Markle’s claim that she had considered suicide amid intense media scrutiny, his bosses clearly decided he had gone too far.
Morgan, a “shameless hounder of Meghan and Harry”, yesterday made headlines when he “flounced” out of a live broadcast of GMB during “a telling off” from his colleague Alex Beresford, Politico’s London Playbook says.
Beresford, GMB’s weatherman, had attacked Morgan for allowing his “personal relationship” with Markle to inform his coverage, saying: “I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or had one, and she cut you off.
“She's entitled to cut you off if she wants to. Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don't think she has but yet you continue to trash her.”
On his return to the studio, Morgan said that he and Beresford need to “talk to each other in a civilised manner, given we work on the same show, on the same team”, and described the statements as “a pretty personally derogatory monologue”.
But the onscreen row had been prefaced by a behind-the-scenes falling out with ITV’s bosses. After Morgan said that he did not believe Markle’s description of her mental health struggles, “Ofcom launched an investigation” into GMB “following more than 41,000 complaints about the remarks”, The Telegraph reports.
ITV bosses had asked Morgan to apologise on Tuesday’s show “but he refused”, the paper adds. ITV’s chief executive Carolyn McCall then said that executives had been in discussion with Morgan for days about his coverage of the explosive interview.
Speaking outside his London home this morning, Morgan told Sky News that he does not “believe almost anything that comes out of [Markle’s] mouth”, describing her depiction of her mental health struggles as a “diatribe of bilge”. “The damage she has done to the British monarchy and to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible,” he added.
The “vital context” to Morgan’s departure is that he has “been tempted to leave for a while”, BBC media editor Amol Rajan reports. While his stint on the morning show saw “significant ratings growth”, he has “found the very early starts gruelling and doesn't need the money”.
The former Fleet Street editor has “big earnings from owning the rights to some of his formats that are broadcast in the US”, Rajan continues, and “has been on a seven-figure salary for the Daily Mail group, where he writes several columns”. Ultimately, Morgan’s position on the Sussexes “created a conflict that could not be resolved” and “therefore this was the moment to leave GMB”, he adds.
Where he will surface next remains to be seen. Political news site Guido Fawkes criticised him for “hypocritically travelling to Antigua in the Caribbean for Christmas”, meaning a long holiday may be his next move. But as Politico notes, several papers are speculating today that “there will be a straight fight between the two new ‘anti-woke’ TV channels”, namely GB News and Rupert Murdoch’s News UK TV.