PA Media are now reporting that the Duchess of Sussex did formally complain to ITV over Piers Morgan's comments on GMB amid concerns that his comments may affect others attempting to deal with their mental health problems.
The Good Morning Britain co-host quit last night, with a spokesman for ITV subsequently refusing to deny that the pregnant royal had submitted a complaint. His decision on Tuesday came after a difficult morning for Morgan who stormed off set after fellow presenter Alex Beresford accused him of ‘absolutely diabolical’ treatment of Meghan Markle (Morgan had said he did not believe the Duchess of Sussex's claims in Monday's interview).
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.'
Tensions clearly heightened after the show, with ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall putting herself firmly in the Meghan camp – telling the press that she 'completely believes' what Markle said while encouraging people to speak up over mental health. That came after Ofcom announced it was investigating the show’s Monday episode under its 'harm and offence rules' and had received 41,015 complaints about Morgan’s remarks. It has now been confirmed that Markle herself submitted a formal complaint to ITV about Morgan.
It's understood that ITV wanted Morgan to recant publicly, or apologise – something he was unlikely to be keen to do. Since arriving at GMB, Morgan has rode the wave of the culture war – asking questions many others don't want to, whether of royals or government ministers. His monologues are like marmite – they've also brought viewers in.
But this time ITV's corporate values on mental health came up against Morgan's personal opinion of Markle. His dismissal of Markle's claim that she 'didn’t want to be alive any more' during her time as a full-time royal was at odds with ITV’s mental health campaign, 'Britain Get Talking'. It was ITV's corporate values that won out.
Mr S will watch the viewing figures following Morgan's departure with interest...
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 10, 2021
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. pic.twitter.com/bv6zpz4Roe