Piers Morgan’s denial of racism should have been a greater cause for concern
It has taken Piers Morgan’s flagrant denial that Meghan Markle suffered suicidal thoughts to finally depose him from his throne at Good Morning Britain, not his outright dismissal that racism exists and needs to be addressed in Britain.
Piers Morgan has resigned from his post as host of Good Morning Britain following clashes with his co-hosts and ITV producers regarding the interview between Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey that aired in the UK on Monday night. For those of you unfamiliar with the affair, Piers Morgan outright denied that Markle suffered a mental health crisis during her time as a member of the royal family, claiming that Prince Harry’s wife was lying in a bid for publicity. His words on Good Morning Britain were as follows:
“Who did you go to? What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report.
“The fact that she’s fired up this onslaught against our Royal Family I think is contemptible.”
Morgan is no stranger to controversy, having turned a morning breakfast show into a media frenzy on more than one occassion. While he has been credited for some sound analysis of government policy, his contempt for ‘woke’ culture has often led him to deny that racism is and has been a barrier for many people. Venerated guests on Good Morning Britain have frequently been spoken over, interrupted and simply refused time to express the issue on his show, with Morgan petulantly protesting that “this is my show” giving him the right to do as he pleases. Despite the storm that has erupted at his feet over his comments on Meghan Markle, Morgan rejects calls for apology, claiming matrydom in the service of free speech. His words: “freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on”.
Now, I applaud the decision (which is masked as his own) to step down for many reasons. I cannot deny that I do not approve of his role in the media, handed to him, in my opinion, as a priveleged white man who has had fewer obstacles to overcome. Middle class white men have historically been offered up as voices of the people, allowing them free reign to speak as they please with little impunity. But my frustration with his removal is not so much that I feel his comments deplorable in relation to mental health — which is often regarded as a badge people wear in order to garner (undeserving) sympathy — but that his blithe responses to accusations of racism have always been reprehensible. The irony of his being removed for comments related to mental health is the lack of appreciation that denying people’s experiences of racism leads to mental health crises. Racism is traumatic and Piers Morgan’s refusal to accept racist motivations behind the attacks on Markle’s character merely adds salt to the wound. While Morgan’s dismissal of Markle’s mental health concerns seem cold and cruel, they only serve to highlight the kind of inhumanity that people allow in themselves when they disbelieve people’s lived experiences of racism.