London 2012: Piers Morgan at Center of Twitter Storm Over British National Anthem
The CNN host exchanges tweets about athletes not singing while Ricky Gervais laughs as the debate rages.
LONDON – Piers Morgan, the CNN host and controversial British journalist and TV personality, finds himself at the heart of a twitter storm.
He tweeted his disappointment that gold medal-winning Team Great Britain cyclist Bradley Wiggins did not sing the British national anthem.
Morgan tweeted: "And yes, I was very disappointed @BradWiggins didn't sing the anthem either. Show some respect to our Monarch please!"
His tweet set social media alight, with a war of words breaking out.
The controversial soccer player and infamous Twitterer Joey Barton called Morgan an "elitist prat" while reiterating his own opinion that whether to sing the anthem is a choice open to the athletes and has nothing to do with anyone else.
Ricky Gervais found the exchanges funny enough to tweet: "Loving the Twitter class war between @piersmorgan & @joey7barton It's like an avant garde remake of Braveheart."
The social fracca followed the earlier rumblings caused by the Welsh members of the Team Great Britain soccer team, including squad captain Ryan Giggs, opting not to sing the anthem.
The maelstrom came Thursday, a day of more gold medals for the Brits in shooting and canoe slaloming, the disqualification of the female track cyclist sprint team, including British poster girl Victoria Pendleton, and the U.S. judo star Kayla Harrison breaking British hearts by beating Gemma Gibbons in the final to take the gold medal.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the latter billed as a black belt in judo, took a break from talks about the situation in Syria to watch Harrison beat Gibbons.
Across town at Wimbledon, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Prince William and Kate Middleton, partook in a Mexican wave while watching Andy Murray serve up a win in his Olympic tennis singles quarter final before heading straight to the newly built velodrome for the drama of the track cycling.
But as the social media buzzed and the sport continued, organizers continue to face criticism after empty seats and lack of takeup by VIPs of their allocation raged on.
The problem of empty seats at the London Games still "has to be sorted," the British Olympic Association told the BBC.
British Olympic Association chief Lord Moynihan said it was "unfair on Team GB not to have maximum support" and a "major take-away issue" for the organizers of future Olympics.
Friday is expected to be the busiest day of the Olympic Games so far, as events begin at the Olympic Stadium.
More than 200,000 spectators and workers are expected at the Olympic Park alone.
Transport for London is warning members of the public off simply turning up at the venues over the weekend for fear of a transport meltdown.
"Unless you have a Games ticket, please avoid the area where possible and enjoy the attractions at numerous other locations across London," TFL said.