GMB’s Alex Beresford quits social media over racist abuse after Piers Morgan row
Alex Beresford has quit social media over racist abuse after his on-air disagreement with Piers Morgan over Meghan Markle.
The Good Morning Britain weather presenter, 40, notes that this level of abuse began following his on-air disagreement with former colleague Piers Morgan on the show’s March 9 episode.
The installment saw Alex criticise Piers’ stance on Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and brought up Piers’ past personal relationship with Meghan – which prompted Piers to briefly walk-off the set of the show.
Piers resigned from the show later that day after discussions with ITV.
During the debate, Alex had also defended Meghan’s comments in her interview with Oprah Winfrey about the racism she suffered as a member of the Royal Family and her mental health struggles.
However, since then he has faced racist abuse on social media, which has now prompted him to step away.
Writing in The Telegraph, Alex revealed the impact that the “relentless racism” online has had on his everyday life.
Alex penned: “I haven’t announced it (like the former Arsenal player Thierry Henry did this week when he publicly quit social media, in response to anonymous racist bullying) but I have been forced to step away from Twitter and Facebook myself, because it was getting too much.”
He added that he is a “strong person” but is “not made of steel” and that his experience reflects many across the country due to racism.
“The harsh reality, though, is that social media is just a reflection of a bigger problem in society,” notes Alex, describing how it can occur in different forms and come from all sorts of people in around us every day.
In the same piece for the paper, Alex also described how his own mother had once lost her job due to the colour of his skin.
In the much-discussed debate with Piers on March 9, Alex said of the Sussexes: “They’ve had an overwhelming amount of negative press.
“You know, I watched the programme yesterday and, yes, they had some great press around the wedding, but what press is going to trash someone’s special day?”
Alex went on: “There was bad press around the engagement before the engagement, and everything that has followed since has been incredibly damaging, quite clearly, to Meghan’s mental health and also to [her husband, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex].
“And I hear Piers say [ Prince William, Duke of Cambridge ] has gone through the same thing but, do you know what, siblings experience tragedy in their life and one will be absolutely fine and brush it off.
“And the other will not be able to deal with it so strongly and that is clearly what has happened with Harry in this situation.
“He walked behind his mother’s coffin at a tender, tender age in front of the globe.
“That is going to shape a young boy for the rest of his life, so I think we all need to take a step back.”
Addressing Piers’ remarks about Meghan, Alex said: “And I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle, you’ve made it so clear a number of times on this programme…
“And I understand 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. Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has but yet you continue to trash her…”
These remarks prompted Piers’ walk-off moment, which saw the show cut to an advert break.
As Piers walked off, Alex noted: “I’m sorry but Piers spouts off on a regular basis and we all have to sit here and listen.
“From 6.30 to 7am yesterday, it was incredibly hard to watch.
“He has the ability to come in here and talk from a position that he doesn’t fully understand…”
Of the moment, Piers later wrote in his Daily Mail column: “I knew it wasn’t a good look, the great snowflake-basher running away from confrontation. And on reflection, I shouldn’t have done it.
“But in the heat of the moment, in my rather strained state of mind, this seemed the less worse option.”
After the walk-off and when he had returned to set, Alex and Piers had discussed race and Alex said he felt that Piers wasn’t racist but needed to respect Meghan’s “lived experience”.
However, Piers recalled in his column: “‘I don’t feel you’re a racist’, he told me, which was like saying: ‘I don’t think you beat your wife.'”
Piers also criticised the notion of “lived experiences” of racism if they are not based on factual occurences.
Since Piers’ departure, it was reported by The Sun earlier this week that Alex has not formally applied to replace Piers.
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The source notes, however, that Alex “has made it quietly known he’s more than happy, and able, to step up as a presenter if and when he’s needed.”
The paper also claimed that the show will now be built around Piers’ old co-presenter on the show, Susanna Reid.
The Mirror has reached out to ITV for comment on the claims in this report.
*Good Morning Britain airs on weekday mornings on ITV and is available on catch-up on ITV Hub.
If you’re struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operates a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email Jo@samaritans.org if you’d prefer to write down how you feel. You are not alone.