Fresh from causing embarrassment over the Women’s March to the people at ITV for whom he works on three mornings a week, co-hosting breakfast show Good Morning Britain alongside the unfeasibly tolerant Susanna Reid, former editor and one-time CNN host Piers Morgan has today gone into full mardy strop mode and penned a rant for Mail Online which he may come to regret. His meltdown is over actor Ewan McGregor.
It's "Don't you know who I am?" ...
McGregor was due to give an interview on GMB, but after arriving at the studios and discovering that Morgan would be involved, declined to take part in view of the host’s comments about the Women’s Marches over the weekend. ITV bosses declined the suggestion that Morgan be removed and the interview conducted by Ms Reid alone. So McGregor departed the studios and the interview failed to materialise.
So far, so routine: sometimes there are arguments, and schedules have to be changed. Stuff happens in live TV shows. But Morgan then decided to use his Mail Online column to launch a vicious and totally unprovoked assault on McGregor for insulting not merely his co-host, ITV and the viewers, but impugning the reputation of Himself Personally Now.
“Memo to anyone who voted for Trump or Brexit - pedophile-loving hypocrite Ewan McGregor holds you in utter contempt. So why on earth would you want to see any of his movies ever again?” screamed the headline. What did this have to do with Combover Crybaby Donald Trump or Brexit? Er, nothing. Zilch. Zero Nil. Nada. Not a sausage.
Morgan pretended it was not about him: “First, there’s a shockingly unprofessional aspect to this. The hard-working GMB team had spent several days producing the segment. These things just don’t pop up on screen … The interview had also been extensively trailed since yesterday so our viewers were also let down. They include many of the same people who pay good money to see McGregor’s movies”. Yeah, right.
It was because Ewan McGregor didn’t want anything to do with someone who had been shooting his mouth off just for the self-promotion. Worse for Morgan, it was McGregor who had it in his power to say yes or no. McGregor was the big draw. Morgan was not as big a name as he thought he was. But he could not bear to admit it.
... versus "We don't need to ask who HE is - we know"
So out came the smearing iron, thus ensuring that rather more actors than Ewan McGregor will not be seen on GMB any time soon. McGregor “quit the EU years ago to go and live the life of a pampered millionaire movie star in Hollywood” (so what? Morgan has a place in Los Angeles which he talks about, loudly and frequently).
Readers are told about “Foul-mouthed Madonna”, another real star that won’t be appearing with Morgan any time soon. Then there are “The luvvie lemmings”, Morgan not noticing that the Mail’s editor Paul Dacre effectively condemned him as being part of that club many years ago when he decried the cult of “celebrity editors”, noting “The more Piers Morgan appears to television, the more his circulation seems to go down”.
We hear about “Meryl Streep’s extraordinarily pompous and elitist anti-Trump speech” (she didn’t mention The Donald), and are then told “it’s worth remembering the words of Elvis Presley … ‘I want to remain apolitical,’ he said”. Anyone who wanted to know had no doubt where The King stood on politics - way out on the paranoid right.
Then Morgan shows he has lost the argument when he whines “But by refusing to be interviewed by me simply because I have a different opinion about a political march, McGregor revealed himself to be a narrow-minded, stupendously self-aggrandising, anti-democratic little twerp”. I have no idea how tall - or wide - Piers Morgan is, nor how those measurements compare to those of Ewan McGragor. But I do know one thing.
And that is that this is a sign he has lost it: when he had his meltdown with Evan Harris of Hacked Off - and Ms Reid had to intervene and cut short the argument - he deployed the same insult. Anyone who Morgan gets Pwned by is “little”. It’s like a nervous tic.
But even then, he could not resist one last petulant kick at someone whose stature eclipses his own: “Had we done the interview, I might have asked him how his heroic support for women justified him working for director Roman Polanski, a self-confessed and convicted child abuser, on the film, The Ghostwriter”.
That’s a magnificently cheap shot. McGregor did not speak in support of Polanski’s past conduct, but merely to pass positive comment about how he had got on with the director, and that he admired his directorial ability. There is a parallel with Piers Morgan here.
Morgan has spoken positively of people like Jimmy Savile. He has had no trouble appearing alongside the likes of Max Clifford, Gary Glitter and Rolf Harris. The difference between what Ewan McGregor has done, and what Piers Morgan has done, is as nothing. And that’s before his palling up to a self-confessed practitioner of sexual molestation.
One has to ask just how much embarrassment he has to cause ITV, before the ratings benefit he is perceived to bring is overridden by the reality of his prima donna petulance. Or advertisers begin to wonder if there might be some more deserving cause on which they might care to spend their budgets. Or both.
Piers Morgan’s puerile and petulant meltdown is bang out of order. The reality is that Ewan McGregor is a star. And he isn’t. Being nothing more than another of those Clever People Who Talk Loudly In Restaurants is no substitute for star quality. Boring but true.