The Icarus Syndrome that consumed former GMB presenter Piers Morgan

Louise Cusine takes us on a retrospective of the fall of television personality Piers Morgan

Louise Cusine
24th March 2021
Credit: Good Morning Britain, YouTube
When the lead singer from Bastille, Dan Smith, sang ''Icarus is flying too close to the sun'', the chances of him specifically referring to former Good Morning Britain newscaster Piers Morgan are slim. However, this track bears weight to the argument that Morgan's obscene views and inevitable downfall are a micro example of the Icarus caricature.

Two weeks ago, GMB viewers endured the palpable yet expected turmoil at the hands of Piers Morgan's tone-deaf response to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's interview with Oprah Winfrey. Morgan stormed off and quit GMB after co-presenter Alex Beresford challenged Morgan's misogynoir towards Meghan Markle, calling for him to understand the power of his words.

Power and control are fundamental to the Icarian nature of Piers Morgan, especially when he deceives both his viewers and readers with his ''freedom of speech'' phenomenon. Morgan ironically preaches that ''free speech is a hill I'm happy to die on'' without practicing free speech but rather hate speech.

Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey's 'interview of the century' Credit: ITV News, YouTube

The top of the hill itself is a microcosm that represents Morgan's distorted idea of free speech and his demonisation of Markle; imagine Morgan has reached the top of Mount Everest but falls due to an avalanche; the avalanche is a microcosm that portrays those who challenge his morals including Beresford with whom Morgan had a 15-minute debate over Markle's accusations of racism towards the royal family. Chances of surviving an avalanche of opposition after the period of 15 minutes usually ricochet into catastrophe (this was the point where Morgan had enough and walked off set).

Power and control are fundamental to the Icarian nature of Piers Morgan

The avalanche also represents over 40,000 Ofcom complaints, mental health charity Mind's rebuttal and Markle herself filing a complaint - all of these groups in society are incandescent with the way Markle is being treated on daytime TV. Alas, the fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech has been too often blurred and ignored but it is finally being widely addressed. Ultimately, the Icarus syndrome affects those who assume they can say anything without receiving backlash.

Since Morgan tweeted a quote from Winston Churchill about so-called freedom of speech, I'll leave you with a quote from 'Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire' by Akala which depicts the Icarus mindset of both Morgan and Churchill: ''Britain has two compelling traditions - one rooted in ideas of freedom, equality and democracy, and another that sees these words as mere rhetoric to be trotted out at will and violated whenever it serves the Machiavellian purposes of power preservation''.

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