Piers Morgan is to leave Good Morning Britain following Meghan Markle row
The announcement comes after broadcasting regulator Ofcom launched an investigation after it received more than 41,000 complaints regarding comment made by the presenter following Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In a statement, the broadcaster 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.”
It brings the controversial host’s time on the breakfast show to an end after six years.
The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle opened up about her suicidal thoughts during her time in the Royal Family in a deeply personal and explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey. Meghan said she got to the stage where she “just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
After the clip aired, Morgan said during Monday’s programme: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she says.
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.
“I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report.”
An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We have launched an investigation into Monday’s episode of Good Morning Britain under our harm and offence rules.”
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.
What did Piers Morgan say?
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.”
During Tuesday’s programme, Morgan addressed his comments about Meghan’s mental health.
He said: “When we talked about this yesterday, I said as an all-encompassing thing I don’t believe what Meghan Markle is saying generally in this interview, and I still have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what she said.
“But let me just state on the record my position about mental illness and on suicide. These are clearly extremely serious things that should be taken extremely seriously, and if someone is feeling that way they should get the treatment and help they need every time.”
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.”
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.”
Speaking about the death of Diana, the 55-year-old former newspaper editor said Harry “couldn’t let it go”, but “William went through the same thing and he’s managed to come to terms with the media and he works with the media”.
Weather presenter Beresford then interjected and said the Royal couple had “had an overwhelming amount of negative press”.
“There was bad press around the engagement… and everything that has followed since.”
He added this had “been incredibly damaging, quite clearly, to Meghan’s mental health and also to Harry…
“And I hear Piers say William has gone through the same thing but, do you know what, siblings experience tragedy in their life and one will be absolutely fine and brush it off and the other will not be able to deal with it so strongly and that is clearly what has happened with Harry in this situation.
'I've been in situations where I haven’t called out racism based on how it’s been treated in the past.’— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) March 9, 2021
‘We have to get comfortable talking about the uncomfortable.’@piersmorgan and @alexberesfordTV have a frank discussion over Harry and Meghan’s accusations of racism. pic.twitter.com/p2Y86A7peb
“He walked behind his mother’s coffin at a tender, tender age in front of the globe. That is going to shape a young boy for the rest of his life, so I think we all need to take a step back, and I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle, you’ve made it so clear a number of times on this programme…”
“And I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle or 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 but yet you continue to trash her…”
Morgan then stood up and said: “OK, I’m done with this” and walked off set, saying: “Sorry, no… sorry, can’t do this…” as he stormed off set as Beresford called his actions “diabolical behaviour”.
Oprah With Meghan and Harry is available to watch on demand on ITV Hub for viewers in the UK.
Article in part taken from ITV News