Piers Morgan leaves ITV’s Good Morning Britain after row over Meghan remarkson March 9, 2021 at 6:50 pm

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It follows a row over comments the presenter made about the Duchess of Sussex.

Piers Morgan

image copyrightGetty Images

Piers Morgan has left ITV’s Good Morning Britain following a row over comments he made about the Duchess of Sussex.

It brings the controversial host’s time on the breakfast show to an end after six years.

ITV announced the decision after Ofcom said it was investigating his comments after receiving 41,000 complaints.

On Monday’s show, Morgan said he “didn’t believe a word” the duchess had told Oprah Winfrey in an interview.

An ITV spokesperson said: “Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain. ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.”

The channel confirmed to the BBC that his departure will take immediate effect but declined to say who would be replacing him on the sofa on Wednesday.

Morgan’s departure followed an on-air clash with weather presenter Alex Beresford, who criticised his colleague on Tuesday for “continuing to trash” the duchess, prompting Morgan to walk off set. He returned within 10 minutes.

Also on Tuesday, ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall said she “completely believed what [the duchess] says”, adding that ITV is “totally committed to” mental health.

Mental health charity Mind, which is a partner with ITV on its Britain Get Talking campaign, also criticised Morgan, saying it was “disappointed” by the presenter’s comments.

Morgan has not commented on his departure beyond posting a gif on Twitter of a ticking clock.

On Monday’s programme, Morgan picked up on the duchess’s claim that her request to senior Buckingham Palace officials for help was rejected, after she told Winfrey she had had suicidal thoughts.

“Who did you go to?” he said. “What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report.

“The fact that she’s fired up this onslaught against our Royal Family I think is contemptible.”

He also referred to the duchess as the “Pinocchio Princess” in a tweet later that morning.

Following an outcry, he said on Tuesday’s episode that “I still have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what” Meghan said, but that it was “not for me to question if she felt suicidal”.

He added: “My real concern was a disbelief frankly… that she went to a senior member of the Royal household and told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family.”

A total of 41,015 complaints were made to media watchdog Ofcom by 14:00 GMT on Tuesday.

That is the second highest number of complaints in Ofcom’s 17-year history, behind the 44,500 submitted over several days about the racism row involving Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007.

“We have launched an investigation into Monday’s episode of Good Morning Britain under our harm and offence rules,” an spokesperson for the regulator said.

Meanwhile, on Monday evening Mind tweeted: “We were disappointed and concerned to see Piers Morgan’s comments on not believing Meghan’s experiences about suicidal thoughts today.

“It’s vital that when people reach out for support or share their experiences of ill mental health that they are treated with dignity, respect and empathy. We are in conversations with ITV about this at the moment.”

Morgan has always divided opinion – and some people on social media were glad to see the back of him, while others offered their support.

Fellow ITV host Lorraine Kelly told BBC’s The One Show: “It’s certainly going to be quieter. We all wish him well. We all wish him absolutely all the best. Like I say, it will be calmer.”

Morgan’s former BBC Breakfast rival Dan Walker, meanwhile, posted a tongue-in-cheek offer to his adversary.

TV critic Scott Bryant told BBC Radio 5 Live that the announcement had come as “a big shock”.

“The big question people are asking is, did he decide to willingly leave the programme or was he pushed out of it?” he said.

Media commentator Alex DeGroote told 5 Live: “Has he walked? Has be been pushed? Who knows. But it’s a stunning development.”

His departure “will be a blow for Good Morning Britain because he is very much the public face of that show”, he said, adding: “I suspect ITV have decided that their public brand and their public responsibility comes ahead of Piers Morgan.

“They have to be conscious of the fallout in terms of the damage to their own brand, and ultimately nobody is bigger than the station itself.”

Morgan is not likely to struggle to find a new outlet, he said. “He won’t be short of offers, and he has a big social following, and those people will follow him to a new platform, so this is definitely not the last of Piers Morgan.”

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