Video report by ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar
The Duchess of Sussex formally complained to ITV about Piers Morgan before the Good Morning Britain co-host quit.
The presenter left the ITV morning show following a backlash against his comments about Meghan and the headline-making interview.
Despite the Duchess of Sussex's admission over her suicidal thoughts during her interview with Oprah, Morgan hit out at the former royal and said he did not believe a word she said.
He was widely criticised for his comments, with more than 41,000 complaints made to regulator Ofcom. It is understood the duchess’s concern was not about the attacks on the validity of her racism allegation made against the royal family, nor her claims she was not supported by the institution when experiencing suicidal thoughts, but how Morgan’s comments may affect the issue of mental health generally and those attempting to deal with their own problems.
On Wednesday morning, Morgan said he had not been "cancelled" by the "woke crowd" and will "re-emerge" from "temporary hibernation" following his departure from Good Morning Britain.
Speaking outside his London home, Morgan said: “I think it’s fair to say, although the woke crowd will think that they’ve cancelled me, I think they will be rather disappointed when I re-emerge. “I would call it a temporary hibernation.” He added that he is “always in talks with people”. Asked what he would say to his Good Morning Britain colleague, Alex Beresford, with whom he had a heated debate during Tuesday’s show, Morgan said: “Good luck to him.”
He described his departure from the programme as “amicable”, adding: “I had a good chat with ITV and we agreed to disagree.
“I’m just going to take it easy and see how we go.
“I believe in freedom of speech, I believe in the right to be allowed to have an opinion. If people want to believe Meghan Markle, that’s entirely their right.
“I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth and I think the damage she’s done to the British monarchy and to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible.
“If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly-held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it.”
Piers Morgan storms off Good Morning Britain:
His comments followed a tweet which he published shortly after GMB began on Wednesday morning, in which he said he still does not believe what the Duchess of Sussex said to the US chat show host.
He tweeted: “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.”
Susanna Reid addressed her co-host’s exit and referred to his often divisive presence as she opened Wednesday’s programme, saying: “A number of people will know the news and many of you will not and will be surprised that Piers Morgan is not here this morning.
“Now, Piers and I have disagreed on many things and that dynamic was one of the things viewers loved about the programme.
“He is without doubt an outspoken, challenging, opinionated, disruptive broadcaster.
“He has many critics and he has many fans. You will know that I disagreed with him about Meghan’s interview. He himself clarified his comments about her mental health on the show yesterday.”
Reid said there are “many voices” on Good Morning Britain and “everyone has their say”.
She added: “But now Piers has decided to leave the programme. Some of you may cheer and others may boo.
“He has been my presenting partner, Monday to Wednesday, for more than five years and during Brexit and the pandemic and other issues. He has been a voice for many of you and a voice that many of you have railed against.
“It is certainly going to be very different but shows go on and so on we go.”
Ranvir Singh, Reid’s co-presenter for the morning, responded: “Well said.”
She described Morgan as a “big character” and said “many viewers will be absolutely gutted”.
Singh called Morgan “Marmite” and acknowledged his role in Good Morning Britain’s success.
ITV said is it not commenting on reports that the duchess had filed an official complaint to the broadcaster about Morgan’s comments.