My Celebrity Life

I felt bullied on Good Morning Britain by Piers Morgan – I’m glad he’s left

Yesterday Piers Morgan stormed off Good Morning Britain for good after being challenged for his comments about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry by his colleague Alex Beresford.

Following an outcry, Piers went on to say that it was ‘not for me to question if she felt suicidal’ but added, ‘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.’

But I felt his dismissal of the fact that Meghan has felt suicidal was really heartless, even for Piers Morgan. That’s not behaviour any of us should accept, let alone his producers or ITV.

Piers leaving Good Morning Britain is a step in the right direction, but he’s already done a lot of harm.

Meghan Markle isn’t the only one who’s been treated badly by Piers Morgan on the show.

I’ve had the misfortune of being at the receiving end of his bullying behaviour, when in 2017, my partner and I were invited on Good Morning Britain to discuss non-binary issues, after Piers Morgan had spent an entire week ridiculing non-binary people and gender-neutral uniforms.

Once on the show, Piers Morgan began by mocking my name (‘Owl’ the translation of Ugla in English), before he moved on to derailing every single point we tried to make.

It was impossible to have a conversation about being non-binary, and it became more about his narrow-minded views and unwillingness to accept other people as who they are.

Throughout the interview, he continually dismissed who we were, interrupted us, asked facetious questions, and compared us being non-binary to him identifying as a ‘Black woman’ or ‘an elephant.’

Just like in his recent strop over Meghan, during our interview on Good Morning Britain, he also dismissed attempted suicide rates amongst trans youth.

I feel his intentions were never to have a conversation with us – it was to humiliate us in front of millions of viewers across the UK. The producers knew full well what was about to go down, and allowed what we were told would be a four minute segment to roll on for 15 minutes.

The experience made us very wary of accepting to appear on TV to discuss the issue again, and we have since then turned down several requests to appear on Good Morning Britain again. The thought of even doing it causes me anxiety.

Regardless of what people feel about these issues – whether that’s Meghan and Harry’s experiences or people being non-binary – surely no one should think that Piers’ behaviour is reasonable nor acceptable?

The way in which Piers Morgan targeted people every week on Good Morning Britain made it feel like aggression, bullying and explosive arguments were facilitated and encouraged.

If ITV were really serious about wanting to create an image of a TV station that cares about vulnerable people and minorities, this is their chance to show it. Piers Morgan leaving the show is certainly a step in the right direction, but it isn’t enough.

By allowing Piers Morgan to continue tormenting guests on their show week after week, they made themselves complicit in what goes on there. The reason he was never really held accountable for his behaviour tells me that they wanted the ratings and viewership that he produced with this vile behaviour.

We need to demand better journalism and professionality from the media. We need to stop enabling bullying and toxic media debates by giving them the time of day.

We need to hold TV stations like ITV accountable for what they continue to create, and demand that people like Piers Morgan aren’t put on a pedestal for creating toxic debates that centre around diminishing people’s experiences or humiliating them.

It is a welcome gesture from ITV Boss Dame Carolyn McCall to say they are committed to believing and listening to people’s experiences, and that they stand by Meghan. But making this statement and showing it in action is another thing.

ITV has a long way to go to make up for all the harm that’s been done on their show, that’s facilitated this bullying behaviour for far too long.

They have got to make some serious changes on how they approach topics, in particular issues of minorities or mental health.

As someone who’s faced serious harassment and abuse on social media after appearing on Good Morning Britain due to the treatment my partner and I received, I look forward to seeing how they make amends and change what they do.

But it’s hard for me to believe they are going to make any significant changes, as this has been going on for so long.

ITV’s influence is massive and I truly hope they take this chance to turn this around and raise awareness of the harassment, discrimination and mental health issues that so many people suffer from due to bigotry and prejudice.

Not just for Meghan and Harry – but for everyone that appears on their TV shows.

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