Adeel Amini, a freelance TV worker who formerly worked on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, has criticised ITV’s response to an open letter accusing the presenter of bullying.
Yesterday (22 February), nearly 1,200 people working in the TV industry signed the letter, which came after the Good Morning Britain presenter targeted Amini on Twitter, saying he would “rather employ a lobotomised Aardvark” than work with him again. “You spent precisely two months working on Life Stories in 2010 & judging by your CV that was the pinnacle of your TV career,” he said.
Morgan’s post followed one by Amini, in which he said he would not work with Morgan again after his experience on Life Stories as a researcher.
In response to the open letter, ITV bosses Kevin Lygo and Carolyn McCall said: “Our firm understanding is that in this instance, the tweet in question was not accusing Piers of bullying and harassment whilst working on Life Stories. Having spoken to both parties, there is therefore no internal investigation.
“In terms of the separate issue of social media exchanges, we understand some producers wish to express their views on their personal platforms, and we also think it is widely understood that Piers is a prolific and long-standing user of social media where he is well known for engaging in robust, heated exchanges, when criticism is levelled against him.”
They added: “However, Twitter accounts and the decision to comment on each other are their personal choices. Piers is a freelance presenter and we do not control his output on social media, or the other media platforms he writes for.
Amini has since called the response from ITV “disappointing”.
“Bullying feels crap,” he wrote in a lengthy Twitter statement. “It does in a playground, it does at work, and it does on social media. And it’s that feeling that has resonated with over 1,200 supporters (who I am very grateful for), the feeling of a man in power trying to flex his might with no fear of consequences. The feeling that we’ve all been here before – the words ‘robust and heated’ are euphemisms in the same way someone is described as ‘a character’ or ‘particular’ – and we continue to go through it every day…
“It is not good enough to ‘Get Britain Talking’ and turn away from the root causes of poor mental health. It is not good enough to say ‘Be Kind’ after the death of a beloved presenter and yet help perpetuate the sort of behaviour that led to it. The sort of behaviour that almost led me to it this weekend too.”
He added that ITV’s response serves as “a harsh spotlight on the acrobatics people will engage in to shirk responsibility”.
The Independent has contacted Morgan’s representatives for comment.
In response to the original letter yesterday, Morgan tweeted that it is “beyond parody” and claimed that he is, in fact, the victim.