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He’s one of Britain’s most controversial celebrities, and he’s often overstepped the mark. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 times Piers Morgan went too far!
In Light of Piers’ recent clash with one Ariana Grande, we’re reminded of some of the other times this British TV personality has stirred up controversy.
So, for this list, we’ve gathered Piers Morgan’s most infamous moments, from heated arguments on live TV to social media scandals. While his public backing for Donald Trump has triggered a backlash in some circles, Morgan’s direct political persuasions aren’t included today.
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#10: Body-Shaming Susan Sarandon
Piers takes to Twitter to kick things off, for some ill-received comments on Susan Sarandon’s clothing choice. The Thelma and Louise star had recently presented the In-Memoriam section at the 2016 SAG Awards, when Morgan called her out on her white suit/black bra outfit. Asking Sarandon whether she’d dress the same for a funeral, he labelled the look "horribly inappropriate," much to the displeasure of thousands of followers. Piers was promptly taken down for body-shaming, before back-tracking to explain himself. Sarandon’s Rocky Horror response was priceless, though.
#9: Calling Rebekah Vardy a WAG
In Piers’ line of work it’s important to appear relevant. But during this interview with the Vardy’s for Good Morning Britain, Morgan showed how out of touch he was. Asking Rebekah about her life as a footballer’s WAG, he was promptly put in his place for the outdated terminology. Pointing out that she was more than just a "wife or girlfriend," Rebekah left Piers to try and laugh away his error. But the moment only served to highlight his arrogance. An awkward own goal if ever we saw one.
#8: Pushing Clarkson's Buttons
Another of Britain’s more divisive personalities, Jeremy Clarkson has famously flung a few punches in his time. But back when Piers was editor of the Daily Mirror, Clarkson memorably caught him with a well-placed hook. The car enthusiast was allegedly unhappy about reports on his private life which were published in Morgan’s paper, so he settled the score with a good ol’ fashioned scrap. And as per his telling of the story on Parky, he even fractured a finger. You gotta really hate a guy to hit him that hard.
#7: Breaking the News Embargo on BBC Wage Bills
Given his career in the media, Piers is no stranger to press embargos. But that didn’t stop him breaking one in July 2017, when the BBC wage bills were announced. Morgan released details of BBC earnings above £150,000 around an hour before their official time of publication—therefore undercutting every other journalist working on the story. Faced with angry criticism, Piers took to social media to seemingly brag, claiming he’d simply got the "scoop." Amongst other things, Morgan’s rivals called him "naff" and "a bellend."
#6: Shouting Down the Gender Debate
The Good Morning Britain sofa has staged plenty of heated discussions, but Piers’ methods aren’t always all that welcome. And he was at his hot-headed worst throughout May 2017, when gender issues routinely featured on GMB. While Susanna Reid plays a pragmatic host, Piers’ constant questions allow little time for answers, leaving his non-binary guests increasingly frustrated. Having muddled through the misuse of pronouns and repeatedly refusing to switch perspectives, Morgan goes on to align gender with law. Blissfully, the interview ends with Piers put in his place for fearmongering.
#5: Making a Mum Cry
The guest for our next clip certainly split viewer opinion, but Piers’ treatment of her was uncomfortable to watch. More interrogation than interview, his relentless rant smelled strongly of the bully many believe he is. The incident occurred after a mother billed for damage to her child’s shoes during a playdate. But rather than let his audience decide, Piers launched an ongoing offensive which resulted in literal tears. And it’s not the only time he’s had motherhood on his agenda either, even clashing with Susannah on the issue of age.
#4: Telling Men to Man Up
With mental health issues finally being widely discussed, Morgan triggered a massive backlash by outlining his stance in May 2017. With comments made in and around Mental Health Awareness Week, Morgan tweeted criticism for "male public soul-bearing," telling sufferers to "man up," and questioning the accuracy of mental illness statistics. His remarks led to followers labelling him everything from "evil" to "medieval," and ex-footballer Stan Collymore hit back on GMB. Just a few weeks later and Susanna had to battle Piers again, over his opinions of the Wimbledon men’s final.
#3: Slamming Ariana Grande
Piers rarely says sorry, but even he apologised for this. In the wake of 2017’s suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, Morgan heavily criticised the singer for not visiting survivors of the attack in hospital. But when Ariana returned to the city to a) see the victims and b) arrange the One Love benefit gig, Morgan admitted he had "misjudged" her. Piers took to Twitter with sincerity to congratulate Grande on a "magnificent night," although he couldn’t resist reminding followers that he’s "very rarely" wrong.
#2: Reacting to the Women’s March
Where to start with this one? In January ’17, Madonna made headlines for controversial "bomb the White House" comments at the Women’s March, and Piers wasn’t happy. Cue a long list of tweets and rants, as Morgan manages to anger just about everyone. Susanna Reid cut him down more than once, and Ewan McGregor outright refused to be interviewed on Good Morning Britain unless Piers was absent. Days later and Morgan’s widely jeered when he shows up at the National Television Awards wearing a gag. Well played, Susanna.
#1: The Phone Hacking Scandal
Controversy clung to Morgan during stints as editor of The News of the World and The Daily Mirror in the 90s and early 2000s. He’d eventually lose his job for publishing fake photos of the Iraq War, but his time at the top is most remembered for the phone hacking scandal. While Piers has repeatedly denied involvement, investigations have found that many cases occurred under his editorship, especially at the Mirror, including a major story involving Paul McCartney and Heather Mills. Where’s Ian Hislop when you need him?