Piers Morgan stormed off the set of his own morning show in the U.K. after a colleague called him out for his rants against Meghan Markle and Prince Harry following their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Morgan, the host of ITV’s Good Morning Britain, was called out by the show’s weatherman Alex Beresford for his one-man tirade against the Sussexes on Monday, particularly against Markle, and how blithely the America’s Got Talent judge dismissed issues of mental health and suicidal ideation.
Beresford then brought up Morgan’s previous relationship with Markle, suggesting that he was somewhat obsessed, which led to him dramatically leaving the set. “I understand you don’t like Meghan Markle, you’ve made it so clear a number of times on this program, a number of times,” Beresford said.
He continued: “And I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle — or you 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, and yet you continue to trash her.”
Morgan then said, “I’m done with this. See you later,” and, “Sorry, I can’t do this,” as he headed for the studio exit. Speaking to his colleagues, Beresford added: “Absolutely diabolical behavior. I’m sorry, but Piers spouts off on a regular basis and we all have to sit there and listen. … It’s incredibly hard to watch.”
Piers Morgan just walked off the Good Morning Britain set (!!!) after co-presenter Alex Beresford defended Harry and Meghan and condemned Piers' treatment of them in yesterday's programming pic.twitter.com/mH75J8ND4O
— Chris Rickett (@chrisrickett) March 9, 2021
On Monday’s episode of Good Morning Britain, Morgan opened the show by repeatedly suggesting that Prince Harry had “spray-gunned” his family with the revelatory interview and that it was “so disloyal.” “He’s been spray-gunning his entire family on global TV as Prince Philip lies in hospital,” said Morgan, adding, “I see right through them,” and that “Prince Charles has been bankrolling that couple for the last five years.”
Continued Morgan: “America is trashing our country and trashing our monarchy now.”
He focused most of his contempt on Markle, however, repeatedly accusing the Duchess of lying, acting and playing the victim as well as belittling her claims of mental anguish and racism. On Tuesday’s show, Morgan also planned to speak with Markle’s estranged father.
The network announced Tuesday that Morgan will be leaving the show.
“Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain,” ITV said in a statement. “ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.”
Morgan’s obsessive vitriol led to a huge social media backlash as well as a wave of complaints to the British broadcasting regulator, Ofcom. Mental health charity Mind also said it would be talking to ITV over Morgan’s behavior.
Beresford’s allusion to Morgan’s history with Markle stems from the two exchanging Twitter DMs and meeting up for a pub “date” in 2015. Speaking on Irish late-night show The Late Late Show, Morgan gave his version of events: “We had two hours in the pub, she had a couple of dirty martinis and pints — we got on brilliantly.”
He added: “Then I put her in a cab, and it turns out it was the cab that took her to a party where she met Prince Harry. The next night they had a solo dinner and that was the last I ever heard from Meghan Markle. I never heard from her again. Meghan Markle ghosted me!”
On Tuesday, during ITV’s earnings conference call with reporters, CEO Carolyn McCall was asked about the Markle and Prince Harry interview and Morgan’s controversial reaction to it. “I completely believe what she says,” McCall said when questioned about Markle’s comments about suicidal thoughts, adding that ITV is “totally committed to” mental health and “everyone” has to listen to and believe people facing challenges.
“I haven’t spoken to Piers myself,” but Kevin Lygo, ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment, had, McCall added. “I know Kevin Lygo is speaking to him on a regular basis and has done so the last couple of days.”Asked about Morgan’s storming off the set of the ITV morning show on Tuesday, she said: “I didn’t actually see that.”
Nevertheless, the CEO argued that Tuesday’s show was “very balanced” and tried to live up to ITV’s goal of representing “many voices.” Asked if Morgan’s reaction was part of media theater, she said there was “nothing manufactured” there.
“Piers is a freelance presenter for ITV,” McCall said when pressed about the host’s Twitter feed, adding, “We have absolutely no say or control” over his Twitter. “It’s his personal account.”
His comments on ITV shows, though, are “different,” McCall said, which is why “Kevin Lygo is discussing it with Piers,” she acknowledged. McCall added that Morgan on Tuesday morning “qualified” his comments on Markle, saying he generally doesn’t believe her but does believe her comments on suicidal thoughts.
Asked if Morgan would lose his ITV job over the issue or if she was backing him, McCall said: “We are dealing with that as we speak,” and “I’m not making any comments on this.”
March 9, 11 a.m.: Updated with news of Morgan’s departure.