By Amber Wilkinson
On Wednesday, Good Morning Britain announced that Piers Morgan had stepped down from his role as the show’s presenter. Later that day, ITV News released an article stating that Piers’ departure followed ‘more than 41k complaints made to regulator Ofcom’ about Piers Morgan’s reaction to Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah.
GMB played a clip of Meghan discussing her suicidal thoughts, with Piers stating after: ‘I don’t believe a word she says, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe if she read me a weather report’. This is opposed to the mental health charity Mind’s response they put out shortly after :‘We recognise the importance of the Duchess of Sussex sharing her mental health experiences’. Despite mental health practitioners highlighting the importance of public discussions around mental health, Piers failed to recognise her lived experience and the direct negative impact that he had on someone’s personal wellbeing, as part of the mainstream media.
As any survivor of mental trauma or hardship, Meghan Markle simply asked to be believed. Instead of respecting that, he acted like the Man Child he has repeatedly shown himself to be. He centered his own sense of entitlement to an opinion over Meghan’s obvious mental and emotional pain. Like any textbook narcissist, his capacity for empathy was non-existent. He saw Meghan’s admission as an opportunity to attack her, to dismiss her humanity rather than have compassion for it.
Privacy & Consent:
GMB co-presenter Alex Bereford touched on this issue of entitlement when he called out Piers;
‘’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 that you had a personal relationship with Meghan Markle and she cut you off. She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to.’
This moment helped to cement the key issue at the heart of Piers Morgan’s controversial career: his lack of understanding consent.
Piers, like other white men, demanded a privilege given to him since birth; the male privilege to cross a woman’s boundaries even when she withdraws her consent. To say whatever he wants even when it risks that woman’s wellbeing, which in the case of Meghan, he still refuses to accept his own responsibility for. Though not an isolated case, he is the ringleader of a set of journalists whose fragile masculinity is centered along with their own egos over the lives of women.
This is nothing new. Piers Morgan has been given permission by the British Media to act against people’s consent his whole career. Over months and years, he has been allowed to bully and demean women’s rights to their opinions, even when it is about their own experience and bodies.
“It’s a free world”:
These words ‘it’s a free world’ were uttered by Piers 2 years ago when actress Nicola Thorp opened up about her own experiences of upskirting on the red carpet. Nicola tried to emphasise the significance of choice in regard to women’s own bodies, while simultaneously being objectified by the dominantly male British press. Piers took this chance to flex his critical muscles by comparing a woman’s right to have choice over her own image to Kim Jong-un’s totalitarian dictatorship. Debasing a debate about the main mainstream media’s rampant sexism by comparing a woman’s right to privacy to a controlling megalomaniac. Which, almost seems ironic when you think about it. By bullying Nicola’s simple request for women’s privacy, Piers displayed his inability to understand the crux of the issue: image-based consent.
While editor of The Daily Mirror and one of the most powerful news executives in the Mirror Group, Piers Morgan overlooked a variety of illegal phone tappings. One of the most controversial was in the case of Milly Dowler, while she was still considered missing. Though he has denied any personal involvement, he has admitted to understanding how the tapping worked and that it went on. By implication, Piers was involved in invading a dead girl’s privacy; an individual who could not withdraw or give consent.
Not only does he cross the boundaries of women, he feels entitled over the vulnerable, and those that have quite literally had their voices forced from them by men whose only source of empowerment is the degradation of, and violence against women.
Though not a murdering psychopath, Piers Morgan has displayed publicly his own ability to personally wreck a woman’s life.
Piers Morgan does not understand consent. Not when it comes to personal privacy. Not when it comes to women’s bodies. Not when it puts women at risk. Not when it places women under a torrent of death threats. Not even when they’re already dead.
This man does not understand consent and he does not respect the lives and voices of women. Please stop giving this man a platform. Give women the voice this man has tried to take from them time after time.
Enough is enough.