Steve Coogan: 'Piers Morgan is symptomatic of a problem with tabloids'

Steve Coogan is an ardent press reform campaigner. Credit: PA

Actor and press reform campaigner Steve Coogan has labelled Piers Morgan 'symptomatic of a problem with tabloids' in the wake of the presenter's comments about Meghan Markle.

On Tuesday, ITV announced Morgan had left his role as a presenter on Good Morning Britain. Morgan said, on air, that he did not believe the Duchess of Sussex after she opened up about her suicidal thoughts in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

On ITV's Peston show, Coogan, known for his comedy character Alan Partridge, lambasted Morgan. He also criticised the tabloid press, calling them "bullies".

An ardent campaigner for press reform and privacy, Coogan said: "The tabloid press is controlled by a handful of tax shy billionaires with an agenda. Anyone who stands up to the press is attacked by them because they're bullies."

He claims tabloid coverage of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex got worse after they both won court cases against the Mail on Sunday this year.

"They had the money, which not many people do, to stand up when they're being bullied by the press," he said.

Coogan was also asked about institutional racism - another topic raised in Meghan and Harry's interview with Oprah.

The actor said: "Look at how the Mail and many of the tabloids treat refugees, it's quite clear that there is an issue that they have to deal with."

Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, a fellow guest on the show, also touched on racism and the Sussexes.

She said the Duchess was subjected to a "very pernicious smear campaign" by the press.

"We should be asking ourselves whether that was institutional racism, I think the answer was yes," Long-Bailey added.

Conservative MP Caroline Noakes also expressed support for the Duchess.

As well as discussing the Oprah Winfrey interview, Noakes commented on ITV News' report that an adviser had quit as she believed the government was creating a "hostile environment" for LGBT+ people.

Noakes said: "I want to see the government legislate and legislate quickly to have an outright ban on conversion therapy.

"We have to recognise that we want to welcome and accept people, whatever their gender and whatever their sexuality, and it seems to be incredibly difficult for the government to move as quickly as the country is."

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