He started with flattery. “What happened to Wendy Williams? Where did she go?” Piers Morgan asked as he took his seat beside the daytime talk show host Thursday morning. “I mean, you’re literally evaporating. Wow, I’ve not been here for a year. You’ve disappeared. Sensational!”
Soon, Williams was returning the favor by claiming Morgan’s mantle as “the most hated person on Twitter” was actually a good thing. “I’m also one of the most popular, because I’m followed by nearly 5 million people,” the former CNN host turned Daily Mail columnist said. And that number likely jumped up a bit the day before when Morgan’s good friend and former Celebrity Apprentice boss Donald Trump—8.14 million followers—gave him a personal shout-out.
But beyond his bizarre new dedication to Trump, the issue that has “polarized” his followers the most over the past few weeks is his denunciation of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album, which he deemed too “political and race-fueled” for his taste.
“I have to be honest, I preferred the old Beyoncé,” Morgan wrote. “The less inflammatory, agitating one… The one who didn’t play the race card so deliberately and to my mind, unnecessarily.”
As Williams put this morning, that “got the Beyhive swarming.”
“First of all, I like Beyoncé, I love her. I also like her album,” Morgan told Williams. “What I was talking about was the political nature, the quite racially-charged nature of the video that went with it. In particular, using some of the mothers of real-life black men in America who had been killed by police.”
Looking back to an interview he did for CNN with the singer in 2011, Morgan noted that “she was very clear to me in that she did not want to be judged on the color of her skin or about her political views or views on race.”
Rather than push back against Morgan’s point, Williams chose to “agree” wholeheartedly with his point, saying she wishes Beyoncé would just “sing and dance” and keep her opinions to herself.
Another race-based news story that had Morgan up in arms of late was Larry Wilmore’s use of the “n-word” to end his White House Correspondents’ Dinner speech. In his column on following that night, he presumed to know how Richard Pryor would react if he were still alive, declaring, “Larry, you’re not a “n***er” and nor is Barack Obama.”
Williams said she would have given Wilmore the “scold look” if he had tried something like that with her and was “surprised” that President Obama “fell for it,” pounding his chest back at the comedian and embracing him for a hug.
Morgan drew applause from Williams’s audience for calling the “n-word” “one of the most vile, poisonous words in the English language.” He continued, “Obviously, I'm not black. I don’t speak for black people about this. I simply said, look, I think it’s time to get rid of this word completely. I don’t think it helps to keep talking about that word and using it in some sort of ironic way.”
The Monday after the speech, Wilmore used his Nightly Show platform to respond directly to Morgan, informing him that he did not “properly conjugate the slur” in his column. “I don’t care of Larry Wilmore meant it ‘er’ or ending in ‘a,’ it’s the same word, it sounds the same,” Morgan said. “He encouraged young, black, African-Americans in this country to think it's OK to keep using it, but worse for me, he encouraged white racists to think it’s OK for them to use it, too.”
“Because now it’s made it all the way to the White House,” Williams said, agreeing once again.
In the end, the one thing Williams couldn’t quite agree with Morgan on is his apparent support for Donald Trump, about whom he has been speaking more and more fondly of late.
“I like Donald. He’s been a good friend for 10 years. He's a very controversial, polarizing showman,” Morgan said on Thursday. “You will see, knowing him as I do, pulling back on some of the more extreme views, becoming much more mainstream, because now he’s going for the big job, the White House. I don’t agree with lots of what he says, but I’ve got to say the way he says it is so different from most politicians, it’s refreshing.”
But after all that, when Williams asked her guest who he would vote for between Trump and Hillary Clinton if he was a citizen of the United States, Morgan was quick to say he would not vote for Trump.
“I like him very much personally. I don’t agree with him on many issues,” he said. “I wouldn’t vote for any candidate who didn’t support new gun control laws. I feel very strongly about gun control.” However, while he said he does agree with Clinton’s position on guns, Morgan added, “the guy I probably most have a political affinity to is Bernie Sanders.”