#oneaday Day 930: Conditional Philanthropy

I will never understand people — particularly famous types — who are deliberately obnoxious, and who clearly get off on negative attention, conflict and repeatedly proving what an arse they are.

There are a number of people I can think of who fit into this particular category, but the one who springs most readily and frequently to mind is Piers Morgan, erstwhile editor of the News of the World and the Daily Mirror and presently dripping his own peculiar brand of slime over American television sets thanks to CNN.

Piers Morgan’s crimes against common decency are too many to enumerate, but his recent behaviour regarding the Olympics has drawn the ire of a number of people.

For those unaware of what he has been up to, it started here:

And continued:

And continued…


Morgan, it is fair to say, had something of a bee in his bonnet over the fact that some members of the British Olympic team didn’t sing God Save The Queen after winning a medal. He appeared to think that this was incredibly important, and that it was worth putting down their impressive, world-beating sporting achievements for.

Then came the bribery and guilt-tripping:

Generous, non? Well, it could be argued as such, yes — he has no obligation to donate anything to Great Ormond Street children’s hospital, after all — but dig a little deeper and this whole thing just becomes a bit sleazy, really. By not donating a proportion of his undoubtedly vast wealth to Great Ormond Street simply because of an athlete not singing the anthem — not taking into account the fact that winning an Olympic event is probably a pretty emotional moment for any sportsperson — Morgan is implying several things: firstly, that his apparent philanthropy is, in fact, conditional, and secondly, that athletes who do not sing the national anthem after winning a Gold medal are somehow child-haters.

The gloating didn’t help.

Neither did the inconsistency:

Or the abuse:

Basically, there was just something incredibly distasteful about the whole thing. Morgan was clearly just trolling for responses, and he got them by the bucketload — and yes, I’m aware I’m part of the problem here. We don’t even have any guarantee that Morgan is actually going to cough up the £15,000 he currently “owes” Great Ormond Street.

He probably will, of course, because he then gets to look like the hero who donated £15,000 to a children’s hospital — and also gets to rub how much money he has in the peanut gallery’s faces, of course — but I can’t help thinking that it is for entirely the wrong reasons. If he feels that strongly about supporting Great Ormond Street, he should just donate the money, not hold his contributions to ransom based on something completely unrelated — something that could potentially make the non-singing athletes look like child-hating dicks in the hands of an unscrupulous (read: Daily Mail) reporter.

Morgan’s not making a point here. He’s simply waving his willy around in an attempt to make us all feel bad in one way or another. Don’t sing the anthem? You’re unpatriotic. Don’t have as much money as him? HAHAHA YOU’RE POOR. Criticise Morgan’s true motivations for this little exercise? YOU HATE SICK KIDS AND ARE A PIG-IGNORANT VACUOUS LITTLE TROLL.

There are several things that remain a mystery out of this whole thing. 1) Why is Piers Morgan still relevant? 2) Why are there people standing up for him? 3) Why does he have to be so fucking infuriating and get off on all this “controversy” he’s stirring up? He’s like that school bully who would just shrug off any insults you threw at him then punch you in the face and still, somehow, end up being the most popular kid in the school despite being the very worst kind of odious cretin imaginable.

Fortunately, this being the age of social media, at least one good thing has come out of this whole debacle: this JustGiving page aiming to make up the difference in donations that Morgan has refused to give due to athletes not singing God Save The Queen. It’s a lofty goal, but if the world can harness its hate for Piers Morgan to raise £14,000 for sick kids… well, admittedly that’s not the best reason in the world to give money to charity, but it’s sure better than holding the donations from your own incredibly deep pockets to ransom.

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Pete Davison

Southampton-based music teacher, writer and enthusiast of Japanese popular culture.

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