Inside Piers Morgan’s ‘Contrived Controversy’ Machine
Josiah Mortimer reports on how TalkTV’s Piers Morgan Uncensored struggled to get feminists to discuss “has Me Too gone too far?” on the day a serial rapist was sentenced
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Leading women’s rights campaigners have lifted the lid on how Piers Morgan’s TalkTV show battled to get them on his show to debate whether feminism had gone too far – on the day that serial abuser ex-cop David Carrick was sentenced for 24 counts of rape on Tuesday.
Patsy Stevenson, the writer and activist who was arrested at the vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham in 2021, has spoken to Byline Times about her exchanges with TalkTV representatives – for a show she said was “whipping up misogynistic views”.
On Tuesday morning, she got a message from a booking agent for TalkTV. She tells Byline Times: “I’ve always wanted to go on Piers Morgan’s show, to call him out on his show. To call him a twat and then leave, basically…Sometimes if you play up to their views, they tell you lots of things.” And that’s exactly what happened.
The TalkTV representative said the debate would be about “Has #MeToo Gone Too Far?” – on the day that David Carrick was sentenced as a serial rapist, and it emerged that police were treating the deaths of a family of three – including the headteacher of Epsom College – was a murder-suicide by the husband. George Pattison is thought to have killed Emma Pattison and their daughter Lettie at the family home near the school, before taking his own life.
The booking agent said that evening, “we’d be discussing whether they should teach misogyny in schools.” It was, she said, ridiculous.
“I thought: either I go on and call him out, or mess him around. I said I had dinner booked – I gave him the numbers of [leading feminist activists] Mandu Reid, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu and so on. None of us was going to do it,” Patsy jokes. Piers Morgan’s team is also understood to have contacted the chair of Merseyside Alliance for Racial Equality Chañtelle Lunt, and Jamie Klingler, founder of Reclaim These Streets.
TalkTV offered Patsy Stevenson £120 plus a car to and from the show’s Ealing studios. Then when she was non-committal, they upped the offer to £250.
On the phone, the agent allegedly asked if she felt that lessons in school against toxic masculinity were wrong, and that “the Me Too movement has gone too far in labelling young males as sexual predators”.
Patsy was also told by the guest booker that he had been told to request Patsy Stevenson “has a go at Piers for his Andrew Tate interview last year’”. In other words, deliberately creating a row on air.
“It’s the video equivalent of clickbait. I messed him around – said I had dinner with A-listers. It was just my cousin. They kept offering more money. I said I wanted to give Piers a hug afterwards. It got really surreal, but I led it on as long as I could,” Patsy says.
Patsy said the booker told her: “The video will definitely go viral, that’s the point – they need views at the moment.”
It led the the prominent women’s rights activist to believe “they are using the negative debates to create viral sensation clips – rather than debating topics properly…They are doing this on purpose – they know it will get them views.”
She is sceptical about whether Piers Morgan believes much of what he says on his show: “But it’s perpetuating those ideas on TV – whether you believe it or not. They are whipping up misogynistic views.”
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Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu wrote on Twitter: “Oh dear…if Piers Morgan wants me on his show he can call me his damn self to hear the answer he’ll get: No.
“Roping in #MeToo & ‘whataboutism’ on educating boys is an unserious gaslighting angle to minimise atrocities of Carrick. Ending misogyny motivated crimes is NOT debatable.”
Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, also tweeted her rejection to going on Piers Morgan’s Uncensored show, saying: “No thanks Piers, not interested in helping you peddle this kind of crap. Today the worst sex offender in modern history was sentenced BUT it’s #MeToo that’s gone too far.”
He’s a controversialist who uses clickbait to build his own personal profile”Women’s Equality Party leader Mandu Reid on Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan shared it, saying: “How pathetic. But don’t worry – we won’t invite you again.”
Reid told Byline Times: “A show that is designed to elevate the host at the expense of the guest, is not helpful to the causes I fight for. It’s not helpful to anyone.
“Piers Morgan is not interested in having discussions about how to end gender-based violence, he’s a controversialist who uses clickbait to build his own personal profile. I’m disappointed by the way he treats women’s rights as a topic for debate and how he whips up male anger over non-existent issues, especially given the context of the day this all took place.”
She added that Britain had just witnessed David Carrick, one of the worst sex offenders in modern history, being sentenced after serving twenty years in a police force – the Met Police – that has “proven itself to be deeply abusive and misogynistic.”
“And Piers Morgan’s priority is debating whether MeToo has gone too far. To what purpose? To point-score at the cost of survivors of male violence everywhere.”
Reid said she would rather focus her efforts “on the people who are willing to come to the table without being combative and manipulative.”
TalkTV did not respond to requests for comment for Piers Morgan or the station’s representatives.
If you have a political or social story that needs telling, get in touch with Josiah Mortimer confidentially by emailing email@example.com.
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