Piers Morgan and the psychology of the privileged

Piers Morgan

I’m no psychologist, but I’m able to identify harmful rhetoric that is used to silence and dominate marginalized communities. That is what we saw in Piers Morgan’s response to criticism that the production of his interview with trans activist and advocate Janet Mock yesterday was transphobic.

Janet Mock, whose new book was reviewed by Jos yesterday, was interviewed by Piers Morgan on his show​ Piers Morgan Live. After the interview, ​​​Janet took to Twitter to air her frustrations that the show’s tag lines ​mis-gendered her and the segment sensationalized her story by focusing on her romantic relationships.

​But what I find more upsetting than the misrepresentation of Janet Mock and her story is the way in which Piers has responded to these criticisms. His follow-up tweets reveal blinding privilege and ideologies that are used to silence and exert power over marginalized communities. I think it’s worth digging into some of Morgan’s tweets to interpret what they really mean. 

​These tweets suggest that Morgan’s work as a “supporter” of trans issues is limited to giving Mock the honor of being on his show. It doesn’t matter how she may or may have not been offended, triggered, or harmed by the language, content, or production of the segment. When an oppressor gifts you with a neatly wrapped package of bullshit, you should take it with a smile. Otherwise you’re just ungrateful.

If you are waiting for the moment when Morgan addresses the ways in which he actually did sensationalize Mock’s story and mis-gender her, I should tell you now to not hold your breath. Morgan is only concerned with the way he feels about the criticism he is receiving. His intentions are the only ones that matter. He wishes he never booked someone to be on his show who was going to bring him out of his comfort zone to confront real issues. He also has the moral authority to define what is nonsense when it comes to transphobia.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Kind of sounds like victim blaming, doesn’t it? Out of all of Morgan’s tweets, this one is perhaps the most dangerous because he is attempting to silence and invalidate the very real feelings that Mock expressed. She must be “pretending.” Furthermore, he is discrediting Mock’s character and ability to tell her own fucking story. It runs along the same vein as a insisting that someone wasn’t really assaulted because they didn’t scream or fight back. Because Mock didn’t cause a scene Morgan’s studio, there is no way she could have actually been treated badly.

Translation: ​”I’ve never beaten up someone because they were trans. I’m clearly on your side. So what if I get angry when trans women tell me about the ways my language was inappropriate and triggering? You people are just too stupid to recognize a supporter when you see one.” Enough said.

Piers Morgan just told Janet Mock that her lived experience does not give her the authority to define how she wants to be treated.

Saddest of all, Morgan is completely unapologetic and refuses to budge on his opinion. And that concludes today’s episode of “How the Privileged Man Thinketh.”

Avatar Image Sesali is a writer and homegirl from Chicago who gets intersections.

Feministing's resident "sexpert", Sesali is a published writer and professional shit talker. She is a queer Black girl, fat girl, and trainer. She was the former Training Director at the United States Student Association and later a member of the Youth Organizing team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She received her bachelors in Women's and Gender Studies from Depaul University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. A self identified "trap" feminist, and trained with a reproductive justice background, her interests include the intersections of feminism and: pop culture, youth culture, social media, hip hop, girlhood, sexuality, race, gender, and Beyonce. Sesali joined the team in 2010 as one of the winners of our So You Think You Can Blog contest.

is Feministing's resident sexpert and cynic.

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