Watch: Susanna Reid addresses Piers Morgan’s exit on GMB
Morgan has stepped down as anchor of ITV’s morning show after six years, the broadcaster announced last night (9 March).
The decision follows after the presenter’s recent comments about Meghan Markle attracted widespread criticism against both himself and ITV.
In light of the announcement, Reid appeared on GMB without her regular host Morgan. She instead sat next to co-star Ranvir Singh.
Reid addressed her co-anchor’s absence immediately in the show’s opening, stating: “Now Piers and I have disagreed on many things, and that dynamic was one of the things that viewers loved about the programme.
“He is without a doubt an outspoken, challenging, opinionated, disruptive broadcaster.”
She added: “He has many critics and he has many fans. You will know that I disagreed with him about Meghan’s interview. He himself clarified his comments about her mental health on the show yesterday.”
In Prince Harry and Meghan’s recent prime-time interview with Oprah Winfrey, Markle revealed that she previously had suicidal thoughts due to the abuse she received after joining the royal family. On Monday’s (8 March) episode of GMB, Morgan said: “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.”
Following backlash from viewers and his co-presenters, Morgan elaborated on his comments the next day, stating that he wanted to “clarify his position on mental health” and said that mental health should be taken “seriously” and that it is “not for me to question whether she was feeling suicidal”.
He added that his “disbelief” was over her claims that “she went to a senior member of the royal household, told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family”.
However, Morgan appeared to double down on his initial statements in a tweet he shared this morning (10 March) addressing his departure from the programme. The 55-year-old wrote: “On Monday, I said I didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview.
“I’ve had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t. If you did, OK. Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on. Thanks for all the love, and hate. I’m off to spend more time with my opinions.”
Reid continued: “There are many voices on GMB and everyone has their say. But now Piers has decided to leave the programme. Some of you may cheer and others may boo.”
Watch: Piers Morgan walks off Good Morning Britain following heated discussion with Alex Beresford over Harry and Meghan interview
“He has been my presenting partner, Monday to Wednesday, for more than five years during Brexit and the pandemic and other issues,” she said. “He has been a voice for many of you and a voice that many of you have railed against.”
Reid concluded her opening monologue, stating: “It is certainly going to be very different but shows go on and so on we go.”
Although Singh was seated in Morgan’s regular seat, the presenting duo clarified that she was due to appear on the show regardless of Morgan’s departure and advised viewers not to read into the seating arrangement.
Addressing Singh, Reid said: “You were due to be on in any case, and so you have just shifted seats on this brand new desk”.
Speaking about Morgan’s departure, Singh told viewers that “we don’t call him marmite for nothing” and went on to commend the presenter for helping to achieve the show’s all-time highest ratings this week.
Yesterday evening (9 March), it was revealed that broadcasting regulator Ofcom had received more than 41,000 complaints about Morgan’s behaviour and that an investigation would be launched into whether his comments broke the UK broadcasting code in regards to harm and offence.
Watch: Why UK TV Host Piers Morgan Left Good Morning Britain