By Raegan Davies/Sept. 2, 2021 2:40 pm EDT
Piers Morgan has made a living on controversy. The ultra-conservative, six-year host of ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” quit the show in early March of 2021, storming dramatically off set after an argument regarding comments he made towards the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, particularly regarding her claim to Oprah Winfrey that she had experienced suicidal thoughts (via BBC). The comments created a storm of vicious backlash against Morgan. It even led to media watchdog Ofcom receiving the second-highest number of complaints in their 17-year history.
Though Morgan’s comments were particularly hurtful and cruel, those familiar with his career and rhetoric may not have been all that shocked. The reporter and media personality’s career has been fraught with sensationalism, controversy and misinformation since its beginnings as editor of British tabloid the “Daily Mirror,” from which he was fired for approving the use of falsified photos that claimed to show British soldiers taunting Iraqi prisoners of war. Keep reading for some of the most shocking moments of Morgan’s career before his explosive exit from “Good Morning Britain.”
Sexist comments toward Laura Tobin
The name Piers Morgan often goes hand-in-hand in headlines with the word “sexist.” This is certainly true when describing an incredibly uncomfortable on-air clash with “Good Morning Britain” meteorologist Laura Tobin in January of 2020. Morgan abruptly interrupted the broadcast to ask Tobin, “can we talk about your hot pants for a moment” (via Express). Morgan’s co-host, Susanna Reid was quick to interrupt with her confusion, saying, “what are you talking about? They’re not hot pants. They’re just a pair of trousers.”
This interaction sparked a completely inappropriate and uncomfortable debate on live TV, over the course of which Morgan accused Tobin of “parading around” and insisted she only wore them to receive attention. Reid summed up the interaction perfectly while simultaneously poking fun at Morgan by saying, “you know that question you got asked on ‘Sunrise’ where they said, ‘Do you ever think you’ve gone too far? Ever have a moment of self reflection or self awareness?'” As if this on-air interaction wasn’t embarrassing enough, Morgan took to Twitter afterwards, replying to a tweet saying that a woman “should be able to wear what she likes without it being sexualized” by doubling down on his claim that Tobin wanted attention.
Piers Morgan identifies 'as a penguin'
There are few hot-button issues in society that Morgan has not given a lengthy opinion on, and the topic of gender identity is no exception. Morgan came under serious fire in April of 2019 when he said on-air during his “Good Morning Britain” TV block that he identified “as a penguin” (via Huffington Post). The comment was made during an on-air debate in which Morgan read off a list of “100 gender identities” from a BBC Teach film.
After repeatedly mocking the debate and claiming he was “offended” by being labelled as a cisgender man, Morgan asked if he could “identify as a two-spirit, neutrois penguin.” The comment refers to a story from the London Aquarium about a baby penguin that was being raised by two female penguins in a “gender neutral” way, and was accompanied by a graphic of Morgan’s face superimposed over a photo of a penguin. Though the comment sparked outrage and thousands of complaints, Ofcom concluded that they would not conduct an investigation into the behavior.
It's all about Meghan
Morgan has been one of the single most outspoken critics of the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, since her marriage to Prince Harry. Prior to the couple’s wedding and their subsequent departure from the royal family, Morgan and Markle were supposedly close friends — Morgan sang Markle’s praises, saying he believed she was “a very nice woman, very suited to Harry and different” (via Vanity Fair). His tune changed severely, however, when he was not among the invited guests to the royal wedding, and his one-sided feud with Markle ramped up to its explosion point when Morgan quit “Good Morning Britain” on live TV.
According to Forbes, Morgan stormed off the set of “Good Morning Britain” after fellow presenter Alex Beresford criticized him for continuing “to trash” Markle, saying, “I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle, you’ve made it so clear a number of times on this program … she’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to.” The comment was made in reference to his refusal to believe Markle’s allegations of racism against the royal family and her claim that she has experienced suicidal thoughts. In what was perhaps his most shocking on-air moment, a red-faced Morgan said, “okay, I’m done” and left the set.
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