Entertainment

Op-Ed: Piers Morgan Is Trash—Dangerous Trash

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Trigger warning: suicidal ideation

I’ve never been a fan of Piers Morgan. The English broadcaster, journalist, writer, and television personality is selfish, seemingly arrogant, and tasteless. Morgan regularly shuns others, putting them down, and he is intentionally controversial. Morgan has been involved in many famous feuds, but his latest remarks make him dangerous, through and through.

So what did Morgan say? Following Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan Markle, the English broadcaster revealed he “doesn’t believe” Markle had suicidal thoughts.

“I’m angry to the point of bawling over today. I’m sickened by what I just had to watch,” Morgan stated on Monday morning’s episode of “Good Morning Britain.” “I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report. The fact that she’s fired up this onslaught against our Royal family I think is contemptible.”

Yes, Morgan called Markle’s shocking, vulnerable, and very personal revelations “contemptible.” With a few words, he completely dismissed her feelings and thoughts.

Morgan’s co-anchor Susanna Reid immediately fired back. “That’s a pathetic reaction to someone who has expressed those [suicidal] thoughts.” And royal expert Chris Ship echoed a similar sentiment.

“Someone saying they had suicidal thoughts, I don’t think you can say that she was lying at that point. She had these thoughts, pretty serious ones and took them to HR,” Reid said. But Morgan didn’t back down, saying they — Markle and Harry — can’t “be believed.”

“Those victims,” he said, “can’t be believed.”

This is, of course, a dangerous line of thinking. Morgan’s dismissiveness perpetuates the stigma surrounding suicidality. In saying “I wouldn’t believe her if,” Morgan suggests she is lying. She is exaggerating and doing this for attention, a common (but very wrong) reaction many have to suicidal ideations and thoughts. He is shaming and blaming. His lack of empathy is appalling, at best, and he is being rude and crude. A self-serving twat.

Intentional or not, his behavior also impacts others. His lack of understanding makes it harder for those struggling to be honest and come forward — to reach out for help that could save their lives. How would I know? Because I am a two-time suicide survivor, one who has worried about being heard, seen — and believed.

Mind, a UK-based mental health charity, issued a quick and swift response.

“We were disappointed and concerned to see Piers Morgan’s comments on not believing Meghan’s experiences and suicidal thoughts today,” the statement on Twitter began. “It’s vital that when people reach out for support or share their experiences of ill mental health that they are treated with dignity, respect and empathy.”

And “Good Morning Britain” presenter Alex Beresford addressed the issue on Tuesday morning. “I think that we all need to take a step back,” Beresford said, before speaking directly to Morgan. “I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle. You’ve made that so clear a number of times on this program. A number of times. And I understand that you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle or had one and she cut you off. She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to… [but] that’s pathetic.”

“This is absolutely diabolical behavior,” he continued. “I’m sorry, but Piers spouts off on a regular basis and we all have to sit there and listen ― 6.30 to 7 o’clock yesterday was incredibly hard to watch, incredibly hard to watch.”

Morgan, very maturely, walked offstage. Instead of listening and learning, he left the show. Literally. He quit “Good Morning Britain” hours later. But we can be better than Morgan. We can learn from this experience, and we can use it as a teachable moment. Because now we are talking about suicide. We are broaching a difficult topic in a very honest, raw, and candid way.

So please, if someone tells you they are depressed or suicidal, don’t react as Morgan did. Don’t question them or dismiss them or doubt their intentions. Instead, ask what they need — and how you can help. And listen to them; a little empathy goes a long way. Love them, wholly and completely. Meet them where they are, and help hold them up, and believe them, without question Because suicide isn’t a cry for attention. It’s a genuine ask for help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with feeling of anxiety, depression, helplessness, hopelessness, or despair, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line.

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