- March 9, 2021
Piers Morgan, who drew intense scorn in Britain for his upbraiding of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, since her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, resigned on Tuesday as an anchor for ITV news after storming off the set of the network’s morning show.
The host’s hasty departure from “Good Morning Britain” punctuated a turbulent 24 hours for Mr. Morgan, who inflamed viewers on Monday when he cast doubts about Meghan’s account to Ms. Winfrey that members of the royal household had discouraged her from seeking mental health treatment when she confided in them that she had had thoughts of suicide.
Mr. Morgan’s vociferous criticism of Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, who Mr. Morgan said had orchestrated a “two-hour trash-a-thon of our royal family” in their interview, drew more than 41,000 complaints to Ofcom, Britain’s communications regulatory authority. The agency announced on Tuesday that it had opened an investigation into Mr. Morgan’s comments under its “harm and offence” rules.
Then, on Tuesday’s broadcast of “Good Morning Britain,” the strife came to a head when another co-host, Alex Beresford, admonished Mr. Morgan for his frequent sniping at Meghan. Mr. Beresford told Mr. Morgan that he had an ax to grind with Meghan because he previously had a rapport with her and she “cut you off.”
“She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to,” Mr. Beresford said. “Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has, but yet you continue to trash her.”
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Mr. Morgan then got up from his anchor chair and walked off the set.
“OK, I’m done with this,” Mr. Morgan said.
The two hosts engaged in cross-talk as he was walking away, with Mr. Beresford saying: “Do you know what? That’s pathetic.”
Mr. Morgan responded, “Sorry, can’t do this,” before leaving the set. He returned later to the set for his final appearance on the program.
Mr. Beresford continued to denounce Mr. Morgan for his repeated swipes at Meghan.
“This is absolutely diabolical behavior,” Mr. Beresford said.
ITV said in a statement on Tuesday that Mr. Morgan would no longer appear on “Good Morning Britain.”
“Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave ‘Good Morning Britain,’” the network said.
It did not elaborate on the nature of the discussions with Mr. Morgan, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment later on Tuesday. For much of the day, he sparred with people on Twitter.
Mr. Morgan, who may be familiar to American television audiences from his time at CNN about a decade ago, set off a firestorm on Monday with his commentary about Meghan’s revelation that she had had suicidal thoughts.
“I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she says, Meghan Markle,” Mr. Morgan said on Monday. “I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report. The fact that she has fired up this onslaught against our royal family, I think, is contemptible.”
Before his abrupt departure from the show on Tuesday, Mr. Morgan stood by his previous comments questioning Meghan’s credibility.
“I still have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what she said,” Mr. Morgan said.
But on the subject of mental illness and suicide, the television host trod much more gingerly than he did on Monday.
“If somebody is feeling that way, they should get the treatment and the help that they need every time, and if they belong to an institution like the royal family and they go and seek that help, they should absolutely be given it,” Mr. Morgan said.
Mr. Morgan said he wasn’t disputing whether Meghan had thoughts of taking her own life.
“It’s not for me to question whether she felt suicidal,” he said. “I wasn’t in her mind, and that’s for her to say. My real concern was a disbelief, frankly, and I’m prepared to be proven wrong on this, and if I’m wrong it is a scandal, that she went to a senior member of the royal household, told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family.”
Mr. Morgan said there should be repercussions if Meghan’s requests for help were dismissed.
“If that is true, A, that person, if they’re still there, they should be fired,” he said, “and, B, the royal family have serious questions to be answered about how they handled it.”