Piers Morgan has sensationally quit Good Morning Britain hours after the launch of a social media campaign which saw more than 40,000 complaints made to Ofcom.There is a culture war going on, and Piers Morgan’s job on Good Morning Britain has fallen victim to it.
But when the public position of a star presenter and a broadcaster’s CEO are in sharp contrast, about such a sensitive subject, at a time of such heightened tensions, something has to give.
The tough-talking morning show host, who has helped rocket the ITV show to its highest ever viewing figures, attracted a backlash on Twitter after casting doubt over Meghan Markle’s mental health claims in her explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
This morning Carolyn McCall made it very clear that she believed Meghan Markle’s central claim about her mental health. She went further: ITV takes mental health very seriously.
It follows that the company must have expected Morgan to recant publicly, or apologise. He is unlikely to have been willing to do that. Therefore this was the moment to leave GMB.
This came after the 55-year-old host today shocked viewers by walking off camera during a heated on-air row with weatherman Alex Beresford.
The broadcaster stormed out of the studio saying ‘I’m done with this’ after being challenged on his position of the Duke and Duchess by his co-star.
The vital context here is that he has come close to doing so before. Morgan has had very lucrative offers from other broadcasters in recent years, found the very early starts gruelling, and doesn’t need the money. He has big earnings from owning the rights to some of his formats that are broadcast in the US, and has been on a seven-figure salary for the Daily Mail group, where he writes several columns.
So he has been tempted to leave for a while.
Editorially, his time at Good Morning Britain saw significant ratings growth. But this story about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry has turned the culture war dial to max, as his walkout on the show today confirmed.