Piers Morgan’s diabolical behaviour: How much of a tantrum can a man throw?

Rosita Boland: The TV presenter’s mystifying obsession with Meghan Markle has hit a new low

Piers Morgan walked off the ITV Good Morning Britain set after co-presenter Alex Beresford condemned Piers' treatment of Meghan Markle in the previous day's show. Video: ITV / Good Morning Britain

 

“You can trash me, mate, but not on my own show. See you later.”

And with those words Piers Morgan scurried off the set of Good Morning Britain earlier today as fast as his trash-sensitive self could propel him.

His fellow presenters of the ITV show watched him flee. “You know what? That’s pathetic. This is absolutely diabolical behaviour,” one of them, Alex Beresford, remarked. Then the programme cut to an unplanned ad break.

The panel had been talking, yet again, about Oprah Winfrey’s Sunday-night interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry when Beresford challenged Morgan’s obvious bias.

Markle has been a mystifying obsession of Morgan’s for years. He cannot seem to stop writing, talking or tweeting about her, all in what must strike many in his audience as a histrionic, contemptuous and even misogynistic tone

“I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle,” he said. “You’ve made it so clear a number of times on this programme... I understand that 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.”

It was at this point that Morgan scarpered. High-profile guests sometimes do runners from live interviews if their hosts’ questions are insufficiently sycophantic – which can provide a certain kind of delicious spectacle. But for a host to walk out of a studio while in conversation with a colleague live on air is, in my opinion, nothing but an unedifying, unprofessional and disrespectful tantrum.

Markle has been a mystifying obsession of Morgan’s for years. He cannot seem to stop writing about her in his Daily Mail column or talking about her on Good Morning Britain or tweeting about her, all in what must strike many as a histrionic, contemptuous and even misogynistic tone.

Cheap shots are the most lazy, obvious, provocative and self-serving way for a journalist to present a story. To me, Morgan is the absolute master of them. In the Daily Mail yesterday, for example, he wrote: “From the moment Oprah announced her scoop, I predicted to anyone who asked me that Meghan would aggressively play the mental health and race cards to deflect from any criticism of herself and her own behaviour and accountability... why should we believe anything that comes out of her mouth?”

Even after the interview went out in the United States, Morgan continued to belittle Markle’s account of having had suicidal thoughts and of trying to seek help through the institution she had married into

That’s dismissive enough. Even after the interview went out in the United States, Morgan continued to belittle Markle’s account of having had suicidal thoughts and of trying to seek help through the institution she had married into. “I don’t believe a word she says,” Morgan said on Good Morning Britain yesterday. “I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report.”

After the British mental-health charity Mind said it was “disappointed and concerned” by Morgan’s refusal to believe Markle, ITV’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, said today that she “completely believes” her, that the broadcaster will continue to work with mental-health charities and that Kevin Lygo, one of ITV’s managing directors, speaks to Morgan “on a regular basis and has done so the last couple of days”.

In the meantime, what message does Morgan send to anyone struggling with their own mental health?

You can get support from Pieta House (call 1800-247247 or text HELP to 51444) and Samaritans (call 116-123 or email jo@samaritans.ie)