Piers Morgan’s departure from Good Morning Britain and the debate over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle currently consuming the UK and beyond has sparked a litany of high-profile statements and comments from many as all walks of life weigh in on the complicated topic.
Former Suits co-star of the Duchess of Sussex, Patrick J Adams, took to Twitter to hit back at Morgan’s criticism of Harry and Meghan, telling followers not to worry about Morgan’s loss of job as there were ‘plenty of bridges for him to find work under’.
Pop icon Beyonce also posted a message on her website, praising Meghan for her continued ‘courage’ after she revealed details of racism and suicidal thoughts in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey released this month.
Beyonce wrote: “Thank you Meghan for your courage and leadership. We are all strengthened and inspired by you.”
Another celebrity tweeting about Morgan was broadcaster Jameela Jamil, who wrote: “I almost killed myself a year ago because of Piers Morgan’s relentless campaign of lies and hatred against me last February.”
But former footballer Gary Lineker posted his support for Morgan, adding that “it’s always sad when someone loses their job” and that he was sure the presenter would “be back on the telly soon”.
The controversy comes as a select group of UK politicians push for a Commons debate and then subsequent action on the so-called hounding of the Duchess of Sussex by certain sections of the media.
Labour politician Holly Lynch, who helped coordinate a letter from 72 female MPs in support of Meghan in 2019, has suggested legislation may ultimately be needed to make the press take responsibility for its coverage of high-profile women.
“What we said in that letter was there’s got to be an integrity to the British press, to know when something is in the public interest or when it is just tearing down a woman in public life for no reason,” said the Halifax MP.
She added that “we cannot have a position where a woman in public life finds that she is feeling suicidal because of the relentless nature of the attacks on her and on her character” and ways need to be found “where a woman isn’t hounded in the way that we saw Meghan Markle being hounded”.
She said MPs take freedom of the press seriously, but it “comes with a responsibility to not be engaged in relentless and aggressive bullying of a woman – which is not about accountability, which is about tearing down somebody’s character for no good reason”.
“Piers Morgan I am with you. I stand by you. People forget that you’re paid for your opinion and that you’re just speaking your truth,” British-American television personality Sharon Osbourne tweeted.
Speaking outside his home in London, Piers Morgan double downed on his remarks. He said: “If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly-held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it.”
Speaking outside his home in London this morning, Morgan said: “I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth and I think the damage she’s done to the British monarchy and to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible.
He added: “I think it’s fair to say, although the woke crowd will think that they’ve cancelled me, I think they will be rather disappointed when I re-emerge.”
On Wednesday morning Morgan posted a tweet saying he stood by his words on national television.
He wrote: “On Monday, I said I didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview. I’ve had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t.
“If you did, OK. 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.”
The Press Association news agency reported that Meghan formally complained to ITV about Morgan and his remarks before he left the show. The complaint is understood to focus on how the comments on the show could affect the issue of mental health generally and negatively impact those attempting to deal with their own problems.
The Telegraph reported that a spokesman for the broadcaster “refused to deny” the reports. ITV has not commented further.
On Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain, co-host Susanna Reid addressed Morgan’s departure in a very pragmatic manner, saying: “It is certainly going to be very different but shows go and so on we go.”
Opening the show, she said: “Now, Piers and I have disagreed on many things and that dynamic was one of the things viewers loved about the program.
“He is without doubt an outspoken, challenging, opinionated, disruptive broadcaster.
“He has been my presenting partner, Monday to Wednesday, for more than five years and during Brexit and the pandemic and other issues, he has been a voice for many of you and a voice that many of you have railed against.”