Piers Morgan, 55, for once found himself a victim of “broken sleep” following the fateful day Meghan Markle’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in the UK. The former Good Morning Britain host had geared up to do what he does best and challenge what had been said about the Royal Family, but in the end it all came with a hefty cost – his job. The outspoken presenter insisted that, at first, ITV told him he “didn’t need to apologise” for his outburst.
Writing in his highly-anticipated Daily Mail column what he says is “the truth” about his departure – the reactions from his co-stars and the death threats that ensued following his claims about the Duchess of Sussex – Piers admitted some of his words had been “deliberately misconstrued”, which left him open to even more abuse.
“I was told I didn’t need to apologise,” he wrote clearly.
After becoming one of the top trending topics of the day on Twitter, he realised saying “I don’t believe a word she says”, was taken as meaning the sensitive topic of mental illness, as Meghan described feeling suicidal at her lowest point.
“The clearly orchestrated social media pile-on against me intensified through the afternoon,” Piers recalled.
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“I’ve always subscribed to the ‘if you dish it out, you’ve got to take it’ philosophy.”
But it became apparent just how much upset he had caused this time around after his three sons revealed they too had been targeted, which made his “stomach churn”.
“None of them even care about Meghan Markle, let alone agree with my views on her. Yet the Twitter troll mob has found them guilty by association,” he explained.
“One troll vowed to murder me in front of them, and added, ‘When your dad dies, the world will have a party.'”
But it was the complaint from mental health charity Mind that assured his unease after they revealed they were “disappointed” and were “in conversations with ITV” about his remarks.
Piers continued: “To compound my unease, the mental health charity Mind – which gave me an award in 2012 for promoting mental health issues in Life Stories interviews with troubled stars such as Frank Bruno and Paul Gascoigne – issued a statement saying it was ‘disappointed and concerned to see Piers Morgan’s comments on not believing Meghan’s experiences about suicidal thoughts’.
“It ended with the ominously threatening words: ‘We are in conversations with ITV about this.’
“ITV asked me to clarify what I meant on tomorrow’s show, which I’m happy to do as it’s been deliberately misconstrued to suggest I don’t think victims of mental illness should be believed.”
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The broadcaster, satisfied with Piers’ explanation, agreed that an apology wasn’t necessary until “other ITV executives” suggested that he should issue an apology to “calm things down”.
“As requested by ITV, I clarified my position on mental health by saying, ‘I still don’t believe what Meghan Markle says generally in this interview, and I have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what she said.
‘But let me just state my position on mental illness and on suicide. These are clearly extremely serious things and should be taken extremely seriously and if someone is feeling that way, they should get the treatment and the help that they need every time.
‘Every time. And if they belong to an institution like the Royal Family, they should seek that help and be given it. It’s not for me to question if she felt suicidal.'”
But an apology was far from the brink of surfacing as Piers was adamant that if he didn’t believe Meghan, why should he have to apologise?
When debating the choice to either quit GMB or not to “take the hit”, he wrote: “In a free, democratic society, I should be allowed not to believe someone, and to say that I don’t believe them.
“That, surely, is the very essence of freedom of speech?”
Express.co.uk contacted ITV and Meghan’s reps for comment.