Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan says he has pulled out of hosting the Royal Television Society (RTS) Programme Awards over a “silly” campaign to ban him.
The former tabloid newspaper editor was announced as host on Thursday, accepting the offer because he said it might be “fun”.
But he announced on Sunday evening he was withdrawing from his duties because of the furore surrounding his appointment.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Piers, 51, said: “I was recently invited to host the Royal Television Society Programme Awards.
“As someone who has worked in British and American television for most of this Millennium, on a variety of shows, I thought it might be fun and agreed to do it without any fee.
“After my role was announced, a campaign was started to have me banned.
“It suggested that I lack the ‘creative excellence’ criteria required for presenting such an event and therefore my presence would be ‘damaging’ and ‘inappropriate’.
“Further, I have ‘failed to understand a social movement that values equality and diversity of voice’.
“Apparently, this movement does not extend to tolerating my own diverse voice.
“I have no wish to serve as an unnecessary distraction from award winners whose hard work and skill should be celebrated without any of the silly noise this campaign has generated.
“So, I am now withdrawing from hosting the evening.
“Good luck to everyone who has been nominated.”
It comes after a series of public spats involving Piers and celebrities including author JK Rowling, Trainspotting actor Ewan McGregor, and pop talent manager Scooter Braun.
Susanna Reid tweeted in support of her co-presenter on the ITV breakfast show shortly after he went public with his decision to pull out.
She said: “There’s a lot that @piersmorgan and I disagree on.
“But as someone who knows what a very good presenter he is, I think this is a real shame.”
The awards are to be held on March 21 in central London.
Originally announcing his decision to host the awards, Piers joked he agreed to do so because it would be the only way he would “ever stand on a podium at a TV awards ceremony in Britain”.
RTS chief executive Theresa Wise said of Morgan’s appointment: “The RTS Programme Awards recognise programmes which have made a material and positive contribution to their genre through originality, creative risk-taking and their standard-setting quality.
“Morgan’s reputation for being opinionated and his wealth of experience working within the industry make him the perfect host and we look forward to a lively event.”