Piers Morgan has decided to leave his presenting role on ITV’s Good Morning Britain following controversial comments he made about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
In the couple’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan said she felt like she “didn’t want to be alive anymore”.
But on Monday’s Good Morning Britain, Morgan said he “didn’t believe a word” of it.
ITV said in a statement that it had held talks with Morgan and that he “decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain”.
It said: “ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.”
Less than half an hour before the departure was announced, Morgan posted a cryptic tweet showing a clock with the words “tick tock”.
Mental health charity Mind said it was “disappointed” by Morgan’s comments on Monday, which sparked 41,000 complaints – leading to an Ofcom investigation.
That figure is more than the number that built up after the Britain’s Got Talent Black Lives Matter row last year (24,500).
And it is more than Celebrity Big Brother in 2018, when ex-Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett falsely alleged she had been assaulted by fellow housemate Ryan Thomas (25,327).
The Shilpa Shetty race row with Jade Goody on Big Brother in 2007 attracted more than 44,500 – one of the highest ever.
On Tuesday, Morgan also stormed off the set of Good Morning Britain after clashing with fellow presenter Alex Beresford about the interview with Oprah.
Weather presenter Beresford defended the couple, taking Morgan to task, saying: “I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or had one, and she cut you off.
“She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to. Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has but yet you continue to trash her.”
ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall subsequently said on Tuesday the row was not “manufactured”.
Dame Carolyn added ITV managing director of media and entertainment Kevin Lygo had been in discussion with Morgan in recent days regarding his coverage of the Harry and Meghan interview.
She said she personally believed Meghan and that ITV was committed to supporting mental health.
She said Good Morning Britain was a “balanced show”, and added: “ITV has many voices and we try and represent many voices every day. It’s not about one opinion.”
What did Piers Morgan say about Meghan?
After the Oprah interview aired in the US, Monday morning’s edition of Good Morning Britain was heated to say the least.
Host Morgan, a long-standing critic of Harry and Meghan, said of the duchess’s claims she felt suicidal but received no help from the royal household: “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.
“Let’s be clear, Prince Harry and his wife just spent two hours trashing everything the Queen stands for and has worked so hard to maintain, whilst pretending to support her.
“And they did it while her 99 year-old husband Philip is seriously ill in hospital. It’s contemptible.”
Morgan later added: “I still have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what Meghan said”, but added that it was “not for me to question if she felt suicidal”.
“My real concern was a disbelief frankly… that she went to a senior member of the royal household and told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family,” he said.
Morgan gets high-profile backing in some quarters
However, Morgan seemingly found support from former footballer and fellow presenter Gary Lineker.
Although the pair often spar via social media, Lineker tweeted that Morgan was “excellent at what he does” and that it was “always sad when someone loses their job”.
Harry and Meghan, now living in the US, made a number of revelations in their interview, among them an allegation that a member of the family – not the Queen or Duke of Edinburgh – had made a racist comment about their unborn son, Archie.
Buckingham Palace has now announced the race allegations “will be addressed”.
An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We have launched an investigation into Monday’s episode of Good Morning Britain under our harm and offence rules.”
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK