Counter-petition to keep Piers Morgan in U.S. says the ‘UK doesn’t want him’
By Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian
Fightback is launched after tens of thousands back demand for TV presenter to be expelled from US
Following a groundswell of support in the US for demands to expel Piers Morgan from the country and deport him back to the UK over his views on US gun controls, it seems that any return home for the chatshow host would not be greeted warmly by everyone.
The White House has yet to respond to an online petition calling for the TV presenter to be marched to the nearest American exit, but it hasn’t stopped UK citizens from launching a pre-emptive strike against any such move.
The petition to “Keep Piers Morgan in the USA” had nearly 400 signatures by Wednesday lunchtime, far from the 25,000 signature threshold necessary to prompt a White House response.
It was created in response to the petition: “Deport British Citizen Piers Morgan for Attacking 2nd Amendment,” which had attracted more than 70,000 supporters. “Kurt N” in Austin, Texas, created the petition following Morgan’s repeated calls for increased US gun control in the wake of the Newtown shootings.
On 14 December, the day of the shooting, Morgan used his nightly broadcast to lambast the pro-gun lobby, shouting down John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, in an angry exchange.
In a subsequent blogpost on CNN.com, Morgan wrote: “The senseless killing has to stop,” and called for a ban on high-powered assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
The former newspaper editor took to Twitter to ridicule the petition as an attack on his first amendment rights in a number of posts over the weekend.
And on Christmas Day he had a simple message to followers. “Merry Christmas! Even to those who want me deported,” he tweeted.
But it appears that others of a similar mind believe Morgan should remain in the US. Someone using the name “Janusz J” created the latest petition to keep him on the American side of the Atlantic.
The petition is worded less passionately than the one created to support Morgan’s deportation, reading: “We want to keep Piers Morgan in the USA. There are two very good reasons for this.
“Firstly, the first amendment. Second and the more important point. No one in the UK wants him back.
“Actually there is a third. It will be hilarious to see how loads of angry Americans react,” it adds.
Based loosely on a Downing Street equivalent, the White House petition site has been inundated by requests since its launch, with officials pledging that they will respond to petitions that pass the 25,000 signature threshold. The site does not say that users must be US citizens, meaning that if 25,000 Britons sign the petition to keep Morgan in the US, the White House is obliged to comment.
Since the Newtown shootings, campaigns directed at both sides of the gun control debate have appeared on the site. A petition to support the National Rifle Association’s National School Shield Program, which aims to have the gun lobby train security personnel in schools, had more than 16,000 signatures on Wednesday.