LONDON – British TV personality Piers Morgan on Wednesday doubled down on the criticism of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, that likely got him dismissed from his high profile anchor job at “Good Morning Britain”- in his typical style.
He dug in his heels, refused to apologize, and announced he’d be back.
“On Monday, I said I didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah Winfrey interview. I’ve had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t,” he tweeted.
Morgan sensationally resigned on Tuesday after he seemingly crossed a line – not for the first time – when he said he “didn’t believe a word” Meghan told Winfrey in her interview alleging mistreatment by Buckingham Palace, specifically her assertion that she felt suicidal and was offered no help.
ITV News’ royal editor Chris Ship – a colleague of Morgan’s until yesterday – tweeted that Meghan filed a complaint to ITV on Monday. “Meghan raised concerns about how @piersmorgan’s words affect the issue of mental health and what it might do to others contemplating suicide,” he wrote.
Britain’s television watchdog, Ofcom, said that it received more than 41,000 complaints following the Monday edition of “Good Morning Britain” and had launched an investigation into Morgan’s comments, related to “harm and offense rules.”
Hannah Yelin, a senior lecturer in media and culture at Oxford Brookes University, said “his comments were such a clear breach of acceptable reporting on mental illness.”
Morgan thrives on controversy and was defiant on Wednesday. He told his 7.8 million Twitter followers that “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.”
It wasn’t long before he was back tweeting, noting the ratings for Tuesday’s episode of “Good Morning Britain” were at an all-time high, beating the state broadcaster’s morning program for the first time.
“BREAKING NEWS: Good Morning Britain beat BBC Breakfast in the ratings yesterday for the first time,” he tweeted. “My work is done.”
Others were tweeting, too. Some said that he’d be missed. Others were glad to see the back of him. And then there were those people cheekily tweeting pictures of piers at the seaside with the hashtag #bringbackpiers.
Morgan’s career, which has spanned both sides of the Atlantic, has seen reinvention after reinvention – from tabloid editor, to current affairs show host, to a judge on America’s Got Talent. For three years, he hosted a talk show on CNN, taking over Larry King’s time slot.
Morgan has a keen recognition of how to bring in viewers – a skill he shared with his former friend, President Donald Trump. He can be overtly un-PC, controversial, and outrageous. His comments often go viral.
He’s also been sacked from several jobs, although he has an uncanny ability to bounce back.
When he was approached in the street by Sky News on Wednesday after his resignation, he said: “If people think it’s over for me, it’s not, I’ll be back.”
Yelin, the lecturer, agreed that this is probably not the last we’ve heard from Morgan – or someone like Morgan. “He has reinvented himself many times and I fear that someone else will want to capitalize on his knack for fabricating these flash points of attention-grabbing audience anger.”
Get Boston.com's browser alerts:
Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.