No one has mastered Twitter like Piers Morgan. Every day he singlehandedly generates great tsunamis of outrage and ecstatically surfs them onto the beach of global fame. In a time – and on a platform – where self-promotion is king, Morgan’s incredible talent for it stands out.
Take this week. Morgan began by offering the opinion that Holly Willoughby, telegenic host of the popular British show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, had ‘very sizzling’ legs. Cue predictable howls of indignation about the sexual objectification of a high-profile woman. ‘But Holly’s legs ARE sizzling, just stating a fact’, he tweeted playfully. That was Monday.
But Holly’s legs ARE sizzling, just stating a fact. https://t.co/bjIgs1HAdb
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 19, 2018
On Tuesday, his views about exposed famous female flesh seemed to undergo a radical rethink. Responding to a photo of girl group Little Mix in the all together taken to promote a new single, Morgan told the band: ‘Here’s a great idea, girls. If you want to really empower yourselves, get naked and put the word “slut” all over your body’.
By Wednesday – as he well knew it would – all hell had broken loose. The world’s biggest pop star, Ariana Grande, had ridden to the rescue of her slut-shamed sisters and soon after the name Piers Morgan was yet again trending globally on Twitter (which, of course, is what he wanted all along).
Grande tweeted: ‘I look forward to the day you realize there are other ways to go about making yourself relevant than to criticize young, beautiful, successful women for everything they do. I think that’ll be a beautiful thing for you and your career or what’s left of it.’
also @piersmorgan, i look forward to the day you realize there are other ways to go about making yourself relevant than to criticize young, beautiful, successful women for everything they do. i think that’ll be a beautiful thing for you and your career or what’s left of it. 🖤
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) November 21, 2018
For good measure, Morgan even managed to get into a polite online spat with Grande’s mother.
On Thursday, having successfully enticed bleeding heart megastars like Ellen DeGeneres and Christine Teigen into his mischief, Morgan poured oil on the flames he had created by holding up a mirror to the double standards of feminism.
RADICAL FEMINISTS: ‘Page 3 girls, ring girls & F1 grid girls are being sexually exploited & must be banned from doing what they enjoy.’
RADICAL FEMINISTS: ‘How dare Morgan say female pop stars shouldn’t exploit themselves to sell records, it’s their feminist right!’
RADICAL FEMINISTS: ‘Page 3 girls, Ring girls & F1 Grid girls are being sexually exploited & must be banned from doing what they enjoy.’
RADICAL FEMINISTS: ‘How dare Morgan say female pop stars shouldn’t sexually exploit themselves to sell records, it’s their feminist right!’ 🤔
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 22, 2018
And on and on it goes, the whole episode demonstrating yet again Morgan’s instinctive understanding that all we want from life is to be entertained – and that nothing entertains like scandal and outrage.
Last time it was men who carry babies in papooses, the time before that it was attacking Angelina Jolie for being ‘grasping’, the time before that it was battling it out with Tommy Robinson. Next week it will be something different – maybe another world exclusive interview with President Trump that infuriates every journalist on the planet, or perhaps another blistering row with an A-list star. Whatever it is, the result will be the same: everyone will be talking once again about you-know-who.
We’re luckier than we realize to have Piers Morgan. Yes, there’s no issue or cultural sensitivity he won’t jab a thumb into until everyone is screaming, but on the whole he does it humorously (which is why it’s the humorless he most infuriates) and with good grace. He also uses his platform to rail against the idiocies of political correctness or to campaign (rather than to virtual signal) on issues like gun control. These are good and important things to do.
All he asks in return is that everybody look at him. It seems a fair trade.