Piers Morgan has launched an impassioned attack on cancel culture and a defence of free speech in recounting his departure from Good Morning Britain for what he said was not believing the Duchess of Sussex.
As the end of a five-page diarised article in the Mail on Sunday, in which he said his doubting of Meghan was condemned as “a racist hate crime”, the controversial media figure said it is time to “cancel the cancel culture before it kills our culture”.
While also rounding on the Duke Of Sussex for his part in a “disgraceful betrayal” of the Queen, Morgan said the intense fallout from his voicing disbelief of Meghan in her interview with Oprah Winfrey was “outrageous”.
Highlighting that there are differences between “someone’s truth” and “actual truth”, Morgan said he could not be labelled racist simply because he did not believe parts of Meghan’s interview.
He also noted that her credibility had subsequently been eroded by news that she and Harry had not been married in private three days before their official wedding, as she had told the US chat show host.
Morgan also insisted he was not making light of Meghan attesting to have had suicidal thoughts while in the royal family, but doubted her claim that she was told by court officials not to seek help.
He said it is outrageous that Sharon Osbourne has now quit US show The Talk as she was “driven out for the crime of defending me” against her colleague who said Morgan was racist “simply because I disbelieve Meghan Markle”. But he said what had happened to him and Osbourne in the past fortnight “isn’t really about Ms Markle”.
“She (Meghan) is just one of many whiny, privileged, hypocritical celebrities who now cynically exploit victimhood to suppress free speech, value their own version of the truth above the actual truth, and seek to cancel anyone that deviates from their woke world view or who dares to challenge the veracity of their inflammatory statements,” Morgan wrote.
“No, it’s about a far bigger issue than one delusional duchess, and that’s everyone’s right to be free to express our honestly held opinions, forcefully and passionately if we feel like it.”
Morgan said he is “not a victim and I haven’t been cancelled”, and the past two weeks had in fact been one of the most exciting and affirming periods of his life, but added “if our rights to free speech are denied, then democracy as we know it will die”.
The 55-year-old said the community backlash towards him and his family – he said his three sons have been trolled on social media – has been stunning, with people demanding he be fired and saying he is racist and “mocking mental illness” by doubting the duchess’s claims.
He said that, although he has never said anything racist and has only cheered the presence of a bi-racial woman in the royal family, he has been left to conclude that “questioning Meghan’s fork-tongued ‘truth’ is now a racist hate crime”.
Morgan said the former actress had endured “no worse media treatment” than other royal brides “such as Diana, Fergie, Kate, Camilla” and even Wallis Simpson, but she was quick to claim negative press was motivated by racism, which he called “a very dangerous charge to make with so little to back it up”.
The former Daily Mirror editor relived his dramatic storming off from the set of GMB after being challenged on air by colleague Alex Beresford’s “censorious lecture”.
He said the weather presenter had insisted that even if Meghan’s debunked claim about her son Archie being barred from the title of prince because of his skin colour was untrue, it was still her “lived experience” and so should be respected.
Morgan wrote that this was “ridiculous”, since someone could not have a “lived experience” of racism when “the fact you’re basing it on is false”.
“Sadly, this is where we’ve now arrived in society: the truth can be whatever someone decides it is, so Meghan Markle must be believed because it’s ‘her truth’. And if you don’t believe her, you’re a racist,” he said.
Morgan said that, after being told by ITV to apologise or “leave GMB”, he had thought back to a refrain from his former manager, the late John Ferriter, to “trust your gut”.
He decided he would “not apologise for disbelieving Meghan Markle” because the truth was “that I don’t believe Meghan Markle”, that in a free society he should be allowed to not believe someone and say so, and that, had he effectively said he now believes the duchess, he would be lying to his audience – “the very thing I’ve accused her of doing”.
Morgan said he woke the next morning to more than 1,000 emails and texts from figures worldwide.
Most messages had been supportive, including those from Bear Grylls, Transport Minister Grant Shapps and even old foe Jeremy Clarkson.
Former Conservative minister Michael Portillo had said: “I didn’t know that disbelieving Meghan was a sackable offence. Interesting. Presumably not believing Boris would not be?”
One of Morgan’s favourite responses was an email to his local pub from a woman insisting she would buy his first few drinks after lockdown “as a thank you for the way he has held the Government to account since the beginning of the pandemic and his support for NHS workers”.