Piers Morgan: why did the GMB host walk out of Meghan Markle debate with Alex Beresford - and was it staged?
Taking to Twitter shortly after his storming off, Morgan said: ‘Now you’re all watching...’
Piers Morgan has stormed off the set of Good Morning Britain (GMB).
The always divisive host was engaged in another heated debate around the treatment of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex following their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, which was broadcast on ITV on Monday (8 March).
Morgan’s dramatic walkout came during a discussion with GMB colleague Alex Beresford on Tuesday (9 March), following his scathing review of the interview with Winfrey the day before.
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Here is everything you need to know about it, including whether the stunt was staged.
Discussing the tell-all chat again on Tuesday – after the full interview had been broadcast in the UK – Beresford said: “They’ve had an overwhelming amount of negative press.
“There was bad press around the engagement before the engagement, and everything that has followed since has been incredibly damaging, quite clearly, to Meghan’s mental health and also to Harry.”
But things really became tense when Beresford turned his attention towards Morgan’s opinion of Markle, saying: “I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle, you’ve made it so clear a number of times on this programme.
“And I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle,” he added, “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 stood up and said: “OK, I’m done with this” and walked off set, saying: “Sorry, no… sorry, can’t do this…”
Did Morgan return?
As Morgan left the studio, co-host Susanna Reid hastily called for an ad break to allow producers a chance to get the situation under control.
After stalking off, Morgan returned to the set after a conversation with Beresford and Reid around 15 minutes later.
Sitting back at the desk, he said: “Sorry, much as I’d like to sit here taking abuse from you for hours on end, that’s not going to happen… I’m just not prepared to take that. I’ll take it from people outside, I’m not going to take it from you as one of our team.”
The ITV programme host’s scathing comments on Monday drew criticism from mental health charity Mind, which said it was “disappointed and concerned” by his comments after Meghan said she had had suicidal thoughts.
Morgan addressed his previous comments regarding the duchess’s mental health, saying: “When we talked about this yesterday, I said as an all-encompassing thing I don’t believe what Meghan Markle is saying generally in this interview, and I still have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what she said.”
Was the walk out real?
Discussion online immediately turned to whether Morgan’s storming off set was a real, spontaneous moment, or whether the whole stunt had been staged in an effort to attract attention to the programme.
Some have suggested the move was planned to bring more eyes to the show, which was about to broadcast an exclusive interview with Markle’s estranged father, Thomas.
Taking to Twitter shortly after his storming off, Morgan said: “Now you’re all watching... next on @GMB, the first live world exclusive interview with Meghan Markle’s father Thomas reacting to the Oprah interview.”
This only added more fuel to the speculative fire that the whole thing was pre-planned as a publicity stunt.
Social media networks were abuzz with chatter around the incident being rehearsed, with “staged” trending on Twitter and receiving nearly 8,000 posts.
"This feels staged and like damage control for ITV but well said Alex,” said one user. “Piers Morgan is a petty little racist bully who never fully grew up.”
Another user said: "People saying this is staged or whatever, but I’m just glad someone has called him out on air about this being a very personal obsession.”
ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall said on Tuesday the row was not “manufactured”.