LONDON — British TV personality Piers Morgan on Wednesday doubled down on his criticism of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, after being pressured out of his high-profile anchor job at "Good Morning Britain."
Morgan sensationally resigned Tuesday after his network was flooded with complaints about his coverage of the interview. He had said he “didn’t believe a word” Meghan told Winfrey, specifically her assertion that she felt suicidal and was offered no help from Buckingham Palace.
ITV News’s royal editor Chris Ship — a colleague of Morgan’s until Tuesday — tweeted that Meghan was among those who complained to ITV on Monday. “Meghan raised concerns about how @piersmorgan’s words affect the issue of mental health and what it might do to others contemplating suicide,” he wrote.
Britain’s television watchdog Ofcom said that it received more than 41,000 complaints following the Monday edition of “Good Morning Britain” and had launched an investigation into Morgan’s comments, related to “harm and offense rules.”
Hannah Yelin, a senior lecturer in media and culture at Oxford Brookes University, said “his comments were such a clear breach of acceptable reporting on mental illness.”
Morgan thrives on controversy and was unapologetic Wednesday. He told his 7.8 million Twitter followers that “Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on. Thanks for all the love, and hate. I’m off to spend more time with my opinions.”
It wasn’t long before he was back tweeting, noting that the ratings for Tuesday’s episode of “Good Morning Britain” were at an all-time high, beating the state broadcaster’s morning program for the first time.
“My work is done,” he tweeted.
Others were tweeting, too. Some said he would be missed. Others were glad to see the back of him. And then there were those who cheekily tweeted pictures of Morgan at the seaside with the hashtag #bringbackpiers.
Tim Montgomerie, a well-known political activist and blogger, said Morgan was “rude and sometimes ridiculous BUT he often spoke for people and views that the Remainy-wokey media establishment cannot reach.”
“British TV will be poorer without him,” he said.
Dan Walker, host of rival BBC Breakfast, tweeted, “I hope my boss would have dragged me off set if I’d used my platform — on national TV — to tell a pregnant woman, speaking openly about suicidal thoughts, that I didn’t believe a word she said.”
Morgan’s career, which has spanned both sides of the Atlantic, has seen reinvention after reinvention — from tabloid editor, to current affairs show host, to a judge on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” For three years, he hosted a talk show on CNN, taking over the time slot held by veteran host Larry King.
In the United States, he became an evangelist for gun control. More recently, he’s used his platform to take British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to task for its handling of the coronavirus.
He can be overtly un-PC, controversial and outrageous — a tendency he shares with his former friend and former president Donald Trump. His comments often go viral.
When he was approached in the street by Sky News on Wednesday after his resignation, he said, “If people think it’s over for me, it’s not. I’ll be back.”
Yelin, the lecturer, agreed that this is probably not the last we’ve heard from Morgan — or someone like him. “He has reinvented himself many times, and I fear that someone else will want to capitalize on his knack for fabricating these flash points of attention-grabbing audience anger.”