Nearly 1,200 UK television professionals and executives have signed an open letter to ITV accusing Piers Morgan of Good morning Great Britain The moderator targeted former colleague Adeel Amini on Twitter.
Morgan, who has become one of ITV’s biggest stars since his breakfast show was presented, said he would “rather use a lobotomized aardvark” than go back to working with Amini. “You worked on it for exactly two months Life stories 2010 and judging by your résumé, it was the height of your television career, ”he added.
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Hello Adeel, in 2010 you worked on life stories for exactly two months and judging by your résumé, which was the high point of your television career. So you really don’t have to worry about receiving more job offers from me, as I would rather employ a lobotomized aardvark. https://t.co/uZjmNwVeYj
– Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 18, 2021
This was followed by Amini tweeting that he would “say a great deal no” to get back to work Piers Morgan’s life stories After being employed as a researcher on the interview show as one of the first jobs on television in 2010, Amini, now a producer, did not fully tag or name Morgan in his original tweet.
UK Trade Broadcast went public last week and reported that ITV was planning to raise the matter with Morgan. This led to a second tweet from Morgan who wrote, “Yes, and I am discussing the behavior of abusive hypocrite @ adeelamini with ITV.”
Now, a group of industry professionals have written to ITV CEO Carolyn McCall and Kevin Lygo, General Manager for Media and Entertainment, to highlight their concerns. In a letter mailed at noon earlier today, they said they were “appalled” that Morgan was targeting “targeted abuse” against a freelancer.
“As freelancers on television, we feel obliged to speak out against bullying and harassment everywhere, including by personalities on the screen who are all too often badly reprimanded for unacceptable behavior and abusive behavior,” the letter said.
“We believe that silence in the face of harassment is complicity, which in turn allows abusive behavior to continue behind the scenes at all levels of programming. In particular, on-screen talent abuse is all too often overlooked, at the expense of the dignity, health, and safety of the freelancers they target. “
The letter was organized by an anonymous group of freelancers and the signatories were not named. One organizer said it received support from 1,188 industry professionals, including freelancers, commissioners, executive producers, CEOs and department heads.
Amini has become something of a figurehead for freelance rights over the past year and co-founded TV Mindset, a forum to support the mental health of contract workers following the devastation of the coronavirus crisis.
The TV mindset formed a coalition for change that included key industry players. It was agreed to meet quarterly to address bullying and harassment and other issues, including recruitment procedures and diversity.
One of Coalition For Change’s key partners is ITV, which has signed a statement stating: “We believe that every freelancer in our industry deserves decent working conditions and that we should all advocate a culture that is respectful, professional and encourages investment in people. “
The deadline alerted ITV to the letter on Sunday and asked for comment. The company didn’t respond.
Morgan joined first Good morning Great Britain in 2015 and re-established the show as a real competitor to the BBC in breakfast stakes. He also presents Piers Morgan’s life stories for the channel as well as high profile documentaries like Psychopath with Piers Morgan. Morgan, a former CNN presenter, exchanged friendship with Donald Trump to conduct a series of exclusive interviews with the US President during his tenure.
Below is the letter in full:
Dear Carolyn McCall, Kevin Lygo and ITV,
Like many in our industry, we were appalled by Piers Morgan’s online conduct aimed at targeting a freelancer. Morgan, with 7.7 million Twitter followers, has repeatedly approached and tagged a former employee in derogatory posts.
As television freelancers, we feel obliged to speak out against bullying and harassment everywhere, including by screen personalities who all too often get badly reprimanded for unacceptable behavior and abusive behavior.
Over the past year, discussions from The TV Mindset and other organizations including The Coalition for Change, BECTU and the Edinburgh Television Festival reaffirmed the need to address the widespread problem of bullying and harassment. Now is the time to act.
We believe that silence in the face of harassment is complicity, which in turn enables abusive behavior to continue behind the scenes at all levels of programming. In particular, on-screen talent abuse is all too often overlooked at the cost of the dignity, health and safety of the freelancers they target. We hope that you will agree with us in denouncing all forms of bullying and publicly announcing the results of ITV’s internal investigation into the matter.
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