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Hell Hath No Fury Like a Man Rejected
On Piers Morgan & the danger of men who don’t get what they want
Until recently, I didn’t understand why Piers Morgan was so obsessed with Meghan Markle. I knew that the British pundit had a reputation for being bigoted and misogynist, but the particular focus on Markle—the countless nasty tweets, the repeated name-calling on television—was baffling.
But now, it all makes sense: Resurfaced videos show Morgan complaining in multiple interviews that after meeting the then-actress for a drink, she never spoke to him again. “She ghosted me!,” he told one reporter. “She cut me off,” he told another. (In one particularly pathetic interview, he sits in the same pub, at the same table, where he met Markle. “I really liked her,” he says.)
Apparently Markle’s sin of disinterest was reason enough for the television host to berate her publicly over the course of years. He’s called her “shameless,” a “social climber,” and—most recently—said he believed she was lying about being suicidal.
Hell hath no fury like a man rejected.
And while Morgan’s ire towards Markle is unique because it’s been blasted all over the world stage, you certainly don’t have to be a Duchess to suffer the anger of a jilted man.
Whether it’s the guy who follows you for ten blocks because you refuse to “smile,” the bar-dweller who calls you a bitch after you won’t give him your phone number, or the ex-boyfriend who leaves threatening voicemails post-break-up—most women have experienced the unpleasant aftermath of a man who’s been refused.
Anger from rejected men is such a regular part of women’s lives that many of us have strategies to preempt any nastiness: We invent boyfriends, wear fake engagement rings or give out fake phone numbers. We smile and act flattered, are polite when we don’t want to be, and leave relationships saying that it’s all our fault—anything to prevent a potential swell of rage.
Because we know that rejected men are dangerous men. Maybe he’ll release revenge porn after a break-up, or engage in workplace retaliation after denying unwanted advances. Or maybe the worst will happen.
Janese Talton-Jackson, mother to twin girls and a one-year old son, was out at a bar when she turned down a man for a date. He followed her outside and shot her in the chest. Twenty-year old Mollie Tibbets was jogging when a man approached her. She told him to leave her alone, and he stabbed her to death. Even the spate of misogynist mass shootings over the last few years have been perpetrated by men furious that women don’t want them.
That’s what makes rejected men so frightening; women never really know how severe their reaction will be. We do know, however, that the through-line is entitlement.
Men who won’t take ‘no’ as an understandable answer are men who believe they’re owed access to women’s bodies, time and attention.
There’s a reason that Morgan said, “I just think Meghan would be sitting there thinking, ‘I owe that guy one, I really owe that guy one.” It is incomprehensible to Morgan that Markle—who he shared one solitary drink with—owes him absolutely nothing.
It’s also why the pundit stormed off a television set when fellow host Alex Beresford made the connection between Morgan’s relentless bullying and an imagined personal relationship with Markle. “She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to,” Beresford said. Just the suggestion that Markle’s disinterest was perfectly reasonable sent Morgan into a full-blown tantrum.
Perhaps if Markle had kept some kind of friendship with Morgan, he wouldn’t be egging on a global harassment campaign. It’s a trade-off many women make, offering a man just enough attention to keep ourselves safe. But why should we have to coddle men’s egos to live free from fear?
I’m glad the world is seeing Morgan for who he really is: a small, sad chauvinist obsessed with a woman who doesn’t give a shit about him. Now, if we could just realize the same thing about the everyday men who behave similarly to the women in their lives—we might actually get somewhere.