Hell hath no fury like a celebrity hack scorned, especially if his name is Piers Morgan and you’ve just dissed him like a prime player in front of an audience of millions, as T2 Trainspotting actor Ewan McGregor found out this week.
To cut a long Twitter saga short, the beef between the hack and the thespian was sliced, diced, and put on a plate for public consumption when McGregor canceled his appearance at the last minute on what has become Morgan’s flagship show, Good Morning Britain.
To make matters worse, McGregor announced his no show via Twitter mere minutes before his scheduled appearance and cited his contempt of Piers Morgan as the reason why.
“Was going on Good Morning Britain, didn’t realize Piers Morgan was host. Won’t go on with him after his comments about Women’s March.”
For those of you who don’t avidly read Morgan’s columns in the Daily Mail, the outspoken tabloid king was fiercely critical of the millions of women around the world who put on their pink pussy hats and marched because they have a bee in their bonnet about President Trump.
Although Morgan made a handful of valid points in the article, anyone who dares to swim against the Twitter tide these days is soon drowned by a tsunami of righteous scorn.
As such, McGregor no doubt felt that instead of appearing on Good Morning Britain to perhaps debate the empowering feminism behind Madonna waxing lyrical about blowing up the White House, it was perhaps wiser just to slink away into the shadows and let the world know of his valiant act via social media.
Obviously, Piers didn’t take this kick in the teeth well, and like a man possessed he took to Twitter to vent his spleen.
At first, Piers kept it civilized with a simple, “Sorry to hear that McGregor – you should be big enough to allow people different political opinions.” And then came the sting in the tail – “You’re just an actor after all.”
Whoops! Now Piers is a man who has long wallowed in the stinking sty of celebrity culture. He hangs, hounds, and calls some of the bigger ones his friends. Surely he knows more than anyone, how these multi-millionaire activists live in a bubble that they will not allow to be burst by having their opinions questioned, their stances undermined, and their positions threatened in the public eye by that rogue and penetrating question.
When McGregor walked away like a deeply-wronged diva he took the self-satisfied contempt and furious righteousness of millions of “good people” who care deeply about ‘things’ with him. His ‘noble gesture’ was applauded by many who sang his praises and bellowed “This is what a real man looks like.”
Piers, on the other hand, picked up his spade and kept digging.
And why? Because McGregor not only stood him up, but had the brass necked audacity to write, “didn’t realize Piers Morgan was host.”
Oh dear. You can’t throw shade on the egotistical presenter and walk away without being showered with a prolonged and astonishing tirade of vitriol and verbal volleys you know.
And by gosh and by golly, didn’t Piers deliver. Like John McEnroe on steroids, the disgruntled hack hit the T2 Trainspotting star up and down the court with tweet after tweet.
Try these for size”
“A real man would have come on and debated it with me, not run away like a coward.”
“Why should actors be deemed to have more important or correct political opinions than anyone else?”
“Ewan McGregor is just an actor, not a brain surgeon.”
“He’s an actor, not the Dalai bloody Lama.”
“We were going to talk about his film but if he wanted to take me on over the march, he should have had the balls to do it on air.
“Ewan McGregor is the Kim Jung-un of Hollywood – he wants to punish any dissenting political view.”
“Now you all know why I’ve never watched a single Star Wars movie.”
And so it went on, all the day long, With McGregor to his credit, maintaining a dignified silence.
Eventually, Piers announced to the world that he had written a column on Ewan McGregor that same afternoon and heralded its arrival with, “Damn, forgot to run my column past Ewan McGregor. I know he likes to approve other people’s opinions.”
What was astonishing about this hatchet job of a piece was how in the headline it announced not only does the T2 Trainspotting star hold anyone who voted for Trump or Brexit in “utter contempt,” but that McGregor was a “pedophile-loving hypocrite.”
You may just want to rewind that last phrase and scream “for the love of libel.” And know this, in Britain the libel laws are many and draconian.
To call someone a “pedophile-loving hypocrite” is below the belt at the best of times, but when you’re branding a public figure, and father of four girls a “pedophile lover” all because they don’t agree with your political opinions, it’s such a low blow it positively slithers.
Imagine just reading the headline and not the article? What impression of McGregor would you be left with?
Morgan justifies his wicked insult by writing that if he had interviewed McGregor, he might have asked him, “how his heroic support for women justified him working for director Roman Polanski, a self-confessed and convicted child abuser, on the film, The Ghostwriter.”
Polanksi fled America in the late 1970s to escape a lengthy prison sentence after pleading guilty to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl. And while McGregor willingness to work with Polanksi should be questioned, albeit not in a Gestapo manner. He’s not alone in his willingness to forgive and forget Polanski’s crime, large swathes of Hollywood also believe in putting the director’s past aside and welcoming him back to America.
Even Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, told CNN’s Larry King in 2003 that she wished the story and the case had ended soon after it began three decades ago.
Beside which, McGregor didn’t say he loved Polanski because he once raped a 13-year-old, he said he admired him as a director and was fond of him as a man. Big difference.
As with most complicated issues, the rights and wrongs of it should be open for debate, but not used as a bludgeon to beat someone into submission with by calling them a “pedophile lover.”
Such insults belong to the lynch mob and such campaigns of hate are the province of the gutter rat.
Morgan was justified in calling McGregor out for his no-show, but to call him a “pedophile lover” was something any man worth their salt, should and would, apologize for.
[Featured image by Mike Windle/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter]