The following article includes references to suicide and sexual assault.
British broadcaster and journalist Piers Morgan, known for his outspoken and no-filter approach, has been dividing viewers for years. Morgan made his debut appearance on Good Morning Britain in 2015, where he brought his controversial opinions on live television every morning, only to spark outrage among those watching. U.K. media regulator Ofcom has had to deal with the repercussions of Morgan’s remarks many times, and even his longtime co-host described him as “an outspoken, challenging, opinionated, disruptive broadcaster.”
Viewers watched Morgan walk off the set after a heated exchange where colleague Alex Beresford called Morgan “diabolical” following his relentless attacks on Meghan Markle. It would be the last time viewers would watch Morgan express his opinions on the show after he stepped down from his position.
Morgan is aware that not all viewers will take a liking to his beliefs, and he’s fine with that. As he told iNews, “I like being well known. I like being controversial. I like stimulating opinions.” A look back at his remarks over the years while on Good Morning Britain and tweets really shows just how controversial of a figure Piers Morgan has been.
The photos that got Piers Morgan fired
In 1995, Piers Morgan signed on to “edit a solid if dull Daily Mirror,” wrote The New Statesman. However, as The Guardian reported in 2004, he was ousted a little over eight years later for a serious photo debacle. The outlet explained, “The paper said Morgan had left after falling prey to a ‘calculated and malicious hoax’ which saw the paper print photos of British troops apparently abusing Iraqi detainees.”
In 2013, Morgan told Politico that he was axed because he “refused to apologize” for using the photos. “I will apologize if firm evidence ever materializes that they are 100 percent fake, I will apologize,” he continued.
Morgan also recounted his side of the story. “We had had those pictures for three months,” he told Politico. “They came from two serving soldiers in the British army, who were who they were, and who had produced albums full of pictures of themselves in Iraq … The incident itself has never been denied and was widely believed to have happened … To this day, nobody has ever produced hard evidence to me that they were fake photographs.” According to The Guardian, Morgan unfortunately fell for a “malicious hoax” with publishing company Trinity Mirror stating that they had “sufficient evidence” that the horrendous photos were indeed fake.
Piers Morgan's inappropriate comments about a co-worker's outfit
After Piers Morgan made some comments about Good Morning Britain’s meteorologist Laura Tobin’s attire, viewers called him out. According to The Sun, during a segment in January 2020, Morgan drew attention to Tobin’s faux red leather pants, calling them “hot pants” then later stating, “When a female presenter parades herself in skin-tight leather trousers to do the weather, you are going to get people going: ‘wow.'”
However, Morgan didn’t stop there. As The Sun noted, after he “read out a tweet from a viewer that branded his comments ‘sexist,'” Morgan continued to reference his colleagues’ clothes, stating, “You deliberately wore them to get people to notice, all of you wear clothes hoping they will get noticed. If I call you hot, why is that offensive?”
Morgan’s co-host, Susana Reid, defended Tobin. “Saying they’re hot and sexualizing them is just one of those examples of when you’ve gone a little bit too far,” Reid said, according to Metro. As The Sun noted, Reid called Morgan “slightly creepy,” adding that “people don’t want to be objectified at work.” While Tobin looked uncomfortable during the exchange, she admitted that she wasn’t bothered by his brazen comments, tweeting that she wasn’t “humiliated” and thought she was “being stylish.”
The racist reaction Piers Morgan had to an ad for a Chinese milk brand
Good Morning Britain was flooded with 300 Ofcom complaints after Piers Morgan was seen mocking the Chinese language on air, according to Metro. Morgan was discussing an advertisement for a Chinese milk brand that featured Queen Elizabeth’s eldest grandson, Peter Phillips, with his co-host Susana Reid when he said, “I don’t know the Chinese for ‘I only drink…’ What’s it called? Ching chang cho jo.'” Reid let Morgan know that what he said wasn’t appropriate, but he didn’t let up. “I can’t speak Chinese!” Morgan said. “I’m trying to mimic the wording of that advertisement.”
Viewers denounced Morgan on Twitter, with one tweet reading, “I have no words. In 2020, I am still facing racial mockery like this in schools. Need I say more about how ignorant pomposity such as this is not funny and it perpetuates prejudice.” The television host tried his best to defend his comments that were deemed “racist,” when he tweeted, “I was mocking a member of the British royal family appearing in an advert for Chinese milk, not Chinese people.” However, the amount of complaints received to Ofcom in just 24 hours should have been enough for him to realize his wrongdoing.
ITV later issued an apology, calling Morgan’s comments a “spontaneous reaction” to the ad and were “intended to mock” Phillips, and not to “mock or denigrate Chinese people,” according to Yahoo! News.
Piers Morgan told mental health sufferers to 'man up'
In 2017, Piers Morgan faced backlash among Twitter users when he tweeted, “34 million UK adults are mentally ill? What utter nonsense. Man up, Britain & focus on those who REALLY need help” along with an article by iNews that highlighted the high number of young people experiencing mental illness. A number of people found his tweet problematic, calling his views “medieval” and that the public figure should be “ashamed” of himself for telling Britain to “man up” when it comes to their mental health.
As DigitalSpy noted, this tweet went up during Mental Health Awareness Week in the U.K. Former soccer player Stan Collymore appeared on Good Morning Britain to open up about his battles with depression and confront the host over his controversial “man up” comment. “What happens when you are told by whether it’s Piers Morgan or whether it’s somebody on Twitter, ‘Man up, it doesn’t exist,’ is that rather than encouraging people to speak up on day one when they are struggling, is that they are on day 20,” he said. He went on to reference a fellow soccer player who died by suicide, adding, “We don’t want people to get to that state.”
This was also not the first time Morgan has shared his controversial views on mental health. In a tweet in 2017, the television host referred to mental health as a “new trend,” adding that men need to “get a grip.”
Susan Sarandon's ensemble offended Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan is no stranger to twitter feuds and waged war on actor Susan Sarandon when he made inappropriate comments about the ensemble she wore while presenting the In Memoriam segment at the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2016. The Stepmom star wore a white suit over a visible black bra, and Morgan not only called the look “very tacky,” but added, “Would Susan Sarandon wear this to a funeral? No. It was thus horribly inappropriate for an In Memoriam tribute.”
Sarandon laughed off Morgan’s comments while appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers, stating, “Does he have a job? A real job? Why does he have so much time? … He is doing something again today, he can’t stop … I hate to say he’s milking the situation.” The actor also had a few words to say to Morgan on Twitter, firing back with a tweet that read, “Today’s #TBT is dedicated to @piersmorgan, while sharing a photo of herself in a lace bra, taken from a scene from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Several women came to Sarandon’s defense, and tweeted photos flashing their cleavage to chastise the journalist, according to ET. Sarandon later told the outlet, “I love the solidarity of women that came forward. I was very happy that all the gals came forward.”
Piers Morgan's dismissive remarks about the Olympics
Piers Morgan found a way to upset several Olympians during the 2016 Rio Olympics when he tweeted, “Just can’t get excited by Silver & Bronze medals. You win or you lose. Gold is all that matters.” So, not only was Morgan finding enemies among celebrities, but professional athletes as well, who certainly did not keep quiet after he sent out his insulting tweet.
Olympian swimmer Daniel Fogg, who has represented Great Britain, tweeted, “What a complete prat! No idea about the kind of work that goes into just reaching an Olympic Games.” While professional weightlifter and Olympian Zoe Smith tweeted, “Remember Bill Murray’s tweet about putting an average person into Olympic events for reference? Can it be Piers?” As HuffPost noted, Morgan’s dismissive comments about not winning the top prize had Olympians from just about every sport chiming in, expressing their anger towards him.
Two days before his gold medal rant, Morgan made a jab at the expense of sports shooter Ginny Thrasher. After Thrasher took home a gold medal of her own, he tweeted, “LEAST SURPRISING BREAKING NEWS EVER: America’s 1st Olympic Gold Medal is for Shooting. #Thrasher.” Unsurprisingly, this tweet also didn’t go over so well.
Vegan food clearly isn't Piers Morgan's thing
Piers Morgan has been very outspoken about his dislike of vegans — so much so, that he had no problem spitting out a vegan sausage while live on-air on Good Morning Britain, calling it “fake garbage, ” according to the Mirror. As the outlet noted, “Some GMB viewers were less than impressed with Piers’ violent reaction claiming he was making a ‘mockery’ of the vegan roll.” It wouldn’t be the last time the television personality would blast the vegan community.
According to Evening Standard, Morgan was accused of “bullying” and “berating” when he spoke with PETA’s U.K. Director Elisa Allen and called her a hypocrite for telling people to stop eating meat, only to be “slaughtering” bees and other insects for almond milk and avocados. He stated, “You know that literally billions of bees get killed to make almond milk?” he asked. “Care about the bees or not? You work for PETA, so do you care about them or not? Why would you encourage the slaughter of billions of bees? It’s hypocritical.”
Many viewers believed Morgan was bullying Allen during the interview after continually pressing her to answer his questions, according to the Evening Standard. Since receiving backlash from several people on Twitter, Morgan has gone as far as to say that he’s been a “vegan victim” after food corporations like McDonald’s and Pizza Hut hit back at Morgan after releasing vegan options on their menu, according to the Mirror.
Piers Morgan's insensitive interviews with Janet Mock
Writer and transgender activist Janet Mock made an appearance on Piers Morgan’s CNN show Piers Morgan Live to discuss the release of her book, Redefining Realness, a memoir about Mock’s struggles growing up as a trans woman in America. However, Morgan showed just how uneducated he was when it came to talking about the transgender community after he misgendered Mock during the interview and introduced her as someone who “transformed from a boy, at the age of 18.”
Morgan even commented on Mock’s appearance, stating that if he did not know she was transgender, he “would have had absolutely not a clue that you had ever been a boy, a male, which makes me absolutely believe you should always have been a woman.” After the interview, Mock met up with Morgan for a second time after asking him on Twitter to “stop sensationalizing [her] life.” As noted by HuffPost, Morgan refused to engage in a meaningful discussion with Mock as he continued to talk about her past and her physical appearance.
Morgan’s comments in both of the interviews did not sit well with his viewers with several people on Twitter calling him “self-absorbed,” “arrogant,” and as one tweet read, having “engaged in a violent, public, and intentional assault” on a trans woman.
Piers Morgan's take on Emily Ratajkowski's pregnancy shoot
Piers Morgan has criticized a bunch of women in Hollywood, but this time the British television personality went on the attack after model and actor Emily Ratajkowski shared nude pregnancy photos on social media, according to Daily Mail. Ratajkowski shared several snapshots on Instagram of herself in her New York City home while pregnant with her baby, and Morgan felt obligated to share his thoughts on the nude pregnancy photoshoot trend. On an episode of Good Morning Britain, the journalist sarcastically said, “Congratulations to Emily Ratajkowski, an old friend of the show. A very private lady, very concerned about her privacy as always, and has revealed very private pictures of herself.”
He continued to mock Ratajkowski, adding, “The whole point is she has gone completely naked — it seems almost mandatory now for famous women, when they’re pregnant, to go naked. Just to show what a naked pregnant woman looks like. We are kind of done, aren’t we? Of the naked, pregnant, famous person doing it just for clicks? Demi Moore did it almost 30 years ago and ever since, every week, there’s another famous woman going: ‘Look at me! I’m naked and pregnant… But please respect my privacy.'”
This isn’t the first time Morgan targeted Ratajkowski. In 2016, he called out the model for posing topless, tweeting, “Do you want me to buy you some clothes? You look freezing,” and in 2018, Morgan called her a “global bimbo” for posing in lingerie for a video for LOVE magazine (via Daily Mail).
Cold, hard, and not totally indestructible cash
In 2016, Good Morning Britain viewers wanted to see a certain co-host “jailed for destroying a £5 note live on TV,” according to NME. As to MSN, the new, plastic banknotes are “said to be impossible to destroy,” which led Piers Morgan to try to figure out how to do just that. On live television, the host attempted to tear up the five pound note with his hands before finding success with his teeth. He stated, “You can bite it in half,” while his co-host, Susanna Reid appeared shocked by his actions. “I cannot believe you just did that,” Reid said. “I’m not sure if that’s even legal.”
After viewers watched Morgan tear up the banknote, several of them shared on Twitter that what he did could be against the law. According to the U.K.’s Currency and Banknotes Act of 1928, it is illegal to deface banknotes (by printing, stamping, or writing words on them), however, there does not appear to be any law against destroying one. Morgan’s actions still rubbed many viewers the wrong way, with tweets that read they wanted to see Morgan “locked up” and one tweet that read, “Given the type of audience that watches GMB may not have the luxury to rip up money, I think you should rethink doing it.”
In classic Piers Morgan fashion, the journalist took to Twitter. “To appease those offended by me eating two £5 notes on @GMB, I will donate £10 to charity,” he wrote. “In fact £20, because I may eat two more tomorrow.”
Piers Morgan mocked Greta Thunberg
Good Morning Britain viewers believed Piers Morgan went too far when he mocked then-16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg during a conversation about climate change protests in the U.K. As HuffPost recapped, the morning host expressed outrage at activist group Extinction Rebellion after a photo showed them stopping at a McDonald’s during their protests, stating, “The hypocrisy that comes with these people. This is where they went for lunch. They went to McDonald’s. To eat mass produced beef out of cardboard boxes.” Morgan then took aim at Thunberg, famously known for challenging leaders to step up against climate change, and said, “How does McDonald’s sit with the eco-warrior? I’m an eco-warrior, I’m going to McDonald’s for my lunch.”
HuffPost reported that Morgan even went as far as to impersonate the young activist, imitating her speech at a previous UN climate action summit, saying, “How dare you, how dare you? You have stolen my morning. You have stolen my airtime. I have no life. How dare you.” One Twitter user felt that Morgan “stooped at an all time low” when he mocked a teenager with Asperger’s. And another wrote, “Putting on an accent and mimicking a 16-year-old is bullying. You should be ashamed!”
As noted by The Guardian, Thunberg has been outspoken about her Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis, saying that though it makes her “different” it is her “superpower.”
When Sam Smith came out as non-binary, Piers Morgan said they did it for 'publicity'
On a 2019 episode of Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan attacked singer Sam Smith for using their non-binary identification as a “publicity” stunt, according to PinkNews. Morgan appeared to grapple with Smith’s gender identity, going as far as saying that they only made the announcement because the “splurge in popularity” would help increase music sales. Disregarding his co-host, Susanna Reid, who tried to correct Morgan’s use of pronouns, he said, “If 10% of the population decide they are not going to identify as male of female, where does that leave the demographic make up of this country going forward?”
Morgan continued on the topic by proclaiming that coming out as non-binary is what the “young people” are doing and that non-binary people are a “trend or a fad or a craze,” as PinkNews reported. His rant ensued, stating that he would “love to interview Sam Smith” and ask, “18 months ago you were equally empathic that you were a gay man, what changed?” He also believed he was in the right to call out Smith after they referred to themselves as a “man” in the song, “Stay With Me.”
Smith came out as non-binary in 2019 after speaking with actor Jameela Jamil on IGTV, sharing, “I’m not male of female, I think I flow somewhere in between. It’s all on the spectrum.”
Piers Morgan tweeted 'ALL lives matter'
Controversy surrounded Piers Morgan yet again when he responded to activist Marc Lamont Hill’s tweet of “ALL black lives matter” with “ALL lives matter.” According to the Independent, Morgan faced backlash for trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement after he sent out his tweet and claimed that Hill’s statement only caused more division among races. Morgan added that he preferred “to affirm the value of life, regardless of color. Let’s come together, not stay apart,” and boldly stated that white lives are also “devalued.”
Morgan and Hill went back and forth on the social media platform, which saw Morgan continuing to defend his comments and lacking awareness of what was going on in the world. Many Twitter users called Morgan out for not understanding the meaning of the BLM movement in light of the several shootings and killings of innocent Black men and women.
The former Daily Mirror editor also drew attention to himself in 2017, after he published a column on Mail Online that suggested white people should be allowed to say the n-word. The television personality angered a number of people who took to Twitter, with one of them simply stating, “Advice for your column. Edit, select all. Delete.”
A 'hate-mongering' moment from Piers Morgan
The devastating Manchester Arena bombing on May 22, 2017 left 22 people dead and around 800 people wounded after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb while fans were leaving an Ariana Grande concert in England, according to BBC. The day after the tragedy, Piers Morgan addressed the attack on Good Morning Britain, and as the Independent noted, his remarks were described as “hate-mongering.” During the episode, the TV show host said, “At some point there has to be a more concerted effort by the Muslim community to root out these people whose brains have been completely warped into thinking that this is the way they should be behaving.” These comments came up while he was interviewing soap stars Sally Dynevor and Connie Hyde, who were “praised” for handling Morgan’s statements.
“I don’t know if that [comment] is helping families affected today,” Hyde told Morgan (via Independent), adding, “I think this is anger and we should not think like that.” Morgan dug his heels in and maintained that he believed “anger is the right emotion.” Dynevor also shared her opinion on Morgan’s irresponsible comments, stating, “We cannot do that. This was just one individual. It’s very rare and we cannot allow this to stop us. We have to carry on… Love has to come through, not hate. We have to remember all the good things people are doing and not concentrate on the hate.”
Piers Morgan leaked BBC salaries
Piers Morgan took it upon himself to ignore an embargo and “shared a list of high-earning BBC stars on Twitter around an hour before the report was due to be published,” as noted by the Independent. The Good Morning Britain host tweeted the information ahead of time after many people, especially editors and news reporters were anticipating breaking the news as to who the top earners for the corporation were, while also possibly highlighting the “huge disparity in the pay between the corporation’s top male and female talent,” according to HuffPost.
Morgan was branded a “bellend” (a vulgar British word) by The Independent‘s Tom Peck, while Sky News political editor Beth Rigby tweeted, “@piersmorgan is utterly disgraceful to break embargo when hacks gathered at BBC for press conference & respected lock-in. Shame on him.” Morgan replied to Rigby’s tweet, writing, “Oh, settle down petal” before stating that he had simply “scooped” other journalists and reporters, even though everyone received the same information. It was just Morgan who decided he could break the rules.
After it was reported that Morgan had broken the BBC pay embargo, he tweeted, “I’d like to apologize to all my fellow journalists I scooped on BBC salary story. I can’t help being this good at my job, unfortunately.”
Lady Gaga challenged Piers Morgan's perception of PTSD
In 2016, Lady Gaga revealed that she had been struggling from post-traumatic stress disorder after being raped at the age of 19, according to Shape. This apparently did not sit well with Piers Morgan, who, in a series of tweets, questioned the musician’s claims, believing she was only stating that she suffered from PTSD to gain more attention, while also questioning why she waited years to report the rape.
While many people came to Lady Gaga’s defense, the singer herself confronted Morgan on Twitter and discussed why people do not report their sexual assaults as well as agreeing to sit down with the journalist to discuss her story. However, as of this writing, the singer and Morgan have yet to sit down for a one-on-one.
To much surprise, RadioTimes interviewed Morgan and asked him if there was a tweet that he regrets. Morgan confessed that he was too quick to judge Lady Gaga after admitting that anyone can suffer from PTSD, and not just soldiers in the war. “I don’t think I should have been quite so dismissive of everybody,” he shared, adding, “I’ve got a lot of military in my family and PTSD is obviously a real problem if you come off a battlefield but I do accept that you can have it in other forms.” However, it doesn’t appear that Morgan has made any efforts to apologize to Lady Gaga via Twitter.
Piers Morgan lashed out at Little Mix's promo photo
Evidently, Piers Morgan did not understand the point of Little Mix’s music video for the song “Strip.” As The Sun noted, when the group released some promotional shots featuring all four members posing naked, Morgan criticized them. The band, made up of Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jade Thirlwall, painted insults on their skin to promote body positivity and celebrate women of all shapes and sizes. On Instagram, the women shared that they invited several women to be a part of their “Strip” music video to “encourage and empower people to be who they are.”
Morgan wasn’t a fan. “They’re stripping off to sell albums, that’s what it’s about,” he said on an episode of Good Morning Britain (via The Sun). “Do you find Little Mix empowering when they strip off and put offensive words all over their naked bodies? Or like me do you find it a cynical assault on the record market.”
According to Heart, instead of going back and forth with Morgan, the girl group decided to slam the on-air personality by airing a clip of him on stage during their Madrid show for their tour. The footage showed Morgan asking the women for an apology, before adding, “If you’ve got the balls, come on this program and say it to my face.” And then, the group launched into a rendition of their song “Wasabi.”
A genderless penguin upset Piers Morgan
In 2019, Sea Life London Aquarium shared that they were raising a genderless penguin by a same-sex penguin couple. In a press release obtained by CNN, the aquarium stated that it “was more natural for the chick to grow and develop into a mature adult as genderless which is normal in the wild until they mature” and they could include the chick in Sea Life London’s breeding program, “depending on the gender its biology determines.” Piers Morgan took a few moments on an episode of Good Morning Britain to share his thoughts.
As the Mirror noted, he raised his hands in the air and declared, “I’m a penguin. I’m identifying as a two spirit penguin. Everyone happy with that?” After Morgan insisted that he wanted to meet with the aquarium’s penguin keeper, who he called “barking mad,” he said, “I demand to be allowed into the penguin enclosure and to live with the penguins as a penguin because I’m now a penguin.”
As pointed out by the Mirror, the official Good Morning Britain team appeared to have no issue with sending Morgan to live with the penguin, tweeting, “PSA @piersmorgan is now identifying as a penguin. @london_aqaurium feel free to come and collect him whenever you’re ready.”
Guest Dizzee Rascal would not be put on the spot by Piers Morgan
British rapper Dizzee Rascal found himself in an unwanted situation when he came on Good Morning Britain to discuss inventive ways musicians can continue to perform live for their fans amid the coronavirus. Instead, as MSN noted, he found himself “clash[ing] with Piers Morgan over Black Lives Matter question live on GMB.” The rapper was invited on the show to talk about how live concerts, usually filled with fans will be replaced by drive-in raves to keep fans at a safe distance between one another, but Morgan decided to change subjects completely when he asked the rapper on his views on “what Black Lives Matter actually means.”
“What makes you think I know?” Rascal asked, adding that he felt that it wasn’t the appropriate time to speak on the matter. However, Morgan continued to press him, with Rascal replying, “You know what, I watch you on telly and you never let no one speak. You’re not going to do that to me, mate. Let’s keep it calm.” Morgan said the musician responded “aggressively,” while fans on Twitter praised Rascal for keeping his cool and avoiding an “ambush” by Morgan.
Piers Morgan disregarded Meghan Markle's story
Piers Morgan hit an absolute low when he called Meghan Markle a liar after her revealing tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 — a conversation in which the Duchess of Sussex shared that she had suicidal thoughts during her time living at Kensington Palace. While on Good Morning Britain, Morgan stated live on air, “I don’t believe a word she says,” which proved to be a disastrous and disgraceful move on Morgan’s part. Not only did he receive the highest number of complaints to TV regulator Ofcom — a whopping total of 57,121 — but the backlash from viewers and criticism from co-host Alex Beresford prompted Morgan to storm off the set of the morning show.
It would be the last time viewers would get to see Morgan on Good Morning Britain after the host “decided it was time to leave” according to a statement from ITV obtained by BBC. However, he still stood by his opinions on Markle, tweeting, “I’ve had some time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t [believe her]. 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.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, or call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org for additional resources.
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