Piers Morgan: proof that discussions of mental health need to change
Henry Hood considers Piers Morgan’s slander of Meghan Markle after she speaks out about mental health struggles
“Ok, celebrity. Massive c***, always on the telly –“
“Is it Piers Morgan?”
So went an exchange between my old English teacher and myself during an end-of-term trivia game. From personal experience, it seems impossible to find someone who doesn’t hate Piers Morgan nowadays, with his seemingly unshakeable reputation as someone who embodies any swear word or insult. But one look at his Twitter profile, with his 7.9 million followers, and it appears as if he’s widely loved.
In a recent exchange on Twitter, someone told Piers: ‘Dear Piers Morgan, nobody cares what you have to say.”. Piers replied “Hi Jack, if nobody cares what I have to say, why do I have 7.9 million followers on here (including you!) & why did my book just go No1?”. Piers seems to get more criticism than praise, but to Piers, I don’t think this matters. I get the impression that to him, bad press is better than no press, and as long as he keeps in the public spotlight by annoying people, he collects his pay-check.
His latest masterpiece involved his resignation from ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’, following severe backlash over his comment saying he “didn’t believe Meghan” about her struggles with suicide and being blocked from seeking help. He’s since gone on to clarify that he only disagreed with Meghan’s claims that she was denied help, not him disagreeing with her being suicidal. He has also gone on to make several other comments though which seem to suggest he still utterly disagrees with Meghan on the “diatribe of bilge she came out with in that interview”. If you would like to read Piers’s retrospective article where that quote came from, you can here. The frustrating this is, I find that these statements are either deliberately vague or unknowingly exposing his continued hatred for Meghan on all accounts. I feel as though, after his initial clarification, he hardly seems focused on righting his wrongs, and continues to make statements that reinforce his original viewpoint that Meghan is a liar.
And here’s my problem with Piers Morgan: all this criticism that he often rightly deserves is his main source of income. The day before he resigned from GMB (Good Morning Britain), his book ‘Wake Up’ was #2,130 on Amazon’s list of bestsellers. When he resigned, it shot up to #1. I can only imagine that the day he stormed off the set, after the weatherman criticised him, also made him richer, since it was the only time GMB ever got more viewers than BBC’s Breakfast show. Since leaving, ITV’s shares price has haemorrhaged five per cent of its viewership, which according to Piers’ own analysis in his article, means he is worth £250m. A more apt analysis–one that I believe–may be that his bigotry cost ITV £250m.
From my perspective, his comments disregarding a suicidal woman ultimately made him money.
His comments disregarding a suicidal woman made him money.
For me, that is the harsh reality of Piers Morgan. He seems to be an incredibly bigoted man with vitriolic views on many things, but he’s also incredibly good at knowing how to get the media talking about him. For a man with such experience on speaking out and letting his views be known to the public, it’s alarming to me that he used his power to reinforce the stigma of not speaking out about mental health. Going back to his retrospective article, he claims someone with depression reached out to him to say how upset they were that he had left, and how he always made them smile every morning when they tuned into GMB. The saying ‘whatever floats your boat’ comes to mind for the person who reached out, but I find it slightly sinister that he is trying to paint himself as someone who helps people with mental health issues, while making public statements accusing a suicidal woman of lying about her struggles to get help.
It’s alarming that he used his power to reinforce the stigma of not speaking out about mental health.
It’s hard enough as it is to get therapy for anyone who struggles with mental health issues, let alone a member of the royal family who has the media constantly breathing their foul breath down her neck, Piers Morgan included. And that’s why I’m personally pleased to see Piers Morgan has finally been held accountable for his views, and has been forced to resign from GMB.
I truly believe that the only service he ever served was to hound people on live television about their views. Many enjoyed his recent interview with Matt Hancock when the ‘politician’ was left faltering after it was revealed he voted against free school meals for children. But it’s not as if any other trained or untrained journalist couldn’t do the same. Off the top of my head, Emily Maitlis did an exceptional job interviewing Prince Andrew and exposing his true self, and Victoria Derbyshire too in calling out Ian Murray of the Society of Editors on the British Press’s racism. It is hardly as if Piers Morgan is the only person in the world who can call people out in an interview.
From my perspective, with Piers now gone, and last year’s removal of outright racist Katy Hopkins from the public spotlight, it seems as if a breath of fresh air is coming into the world of journalism and media. Hopefully, what Piers calls ‘woke cancel culture’ continues to call out these journalistic dinosaurs for their bigoted views, and people can enjoy watching interviews without having to look at someone who, I believe, has repeatedly thrived from offending others.