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naomi osaka withdraws

Source: MWE/Getty; Chris Hyde/Getty / Getty

After his latest tirade, Piers Morgan is facing backlash over his harsh criticism of tennis champion Naomi Osaka’s recent decision to not do any press while playing at this year’s French Open in order to prioritize her mental health.

Referring to her as “an arrogant spoiled brat whose fame and fortune appears to have inflated her ego to gigantic proportions,” Morgan’s column on Osaka was published on The Daily Mail’s site yesterday (May 31). After calling the 23-year-old “petulant,” and pointing out that the four-time Grand Slam champion is the highest-paid female athlete in the world — making around $6,000 an hour — Morgan, 56, explained that he primarily took offense with “her frankly contemptible attempt to avoid legitimate media scrutiny by weaponizing mental health to justify her boycott.”

“This has got nothing to do with mental health,” he said of the tennis champion’s Instagram statement from last week that announced her plans to avoid sitting in for any required or optional press as she played at the French Open. “What Osaka really means is that she doesn’t want to face the media if she hasn’t played well, because the beastly journalists might actually dare to criticize her performance.”

“And I’m sorry (not really…) if this offends any of the delicate little snowflakes out there who believe all this self-serving garbage,” Morgan went on, before adding, “but Osaka’s antics stink of a stupendous ego raging out of control.”

On Twitter earlier today (June 1), the former “Good Morning Britain” host followed up on the sentiment with a series of replies to those who criticized his especially mean-spirited remarks about Osaka. In the midst of them, one of his tweets read, “Blocking a lot of wokies today. It’s for their own good – I’m bad for their snowflake sensitivities and bile-spewing spleens.”

Morgan’s stance follows Osaka being fined $15,000 over the weekend at the tournament for standing by her choice. Almost simultaneously, it also strikes and the tennis star announced that she would be withdrawing from the competition altogether.

In her statement regarding her decision to take a break from the court, Osaka noted, “This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris. I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”

For the record, this isn’t the first time we’ve reported on Morgan’s seeming pattern of overt harassment towards Black women in the public eye. In the past several months, we covered his heated on-air exchange with Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, his problematic behavior towards fellow journalist Gayle King, and tracked his obsessive and disturbing series of attacks on Meghan Markle.

Speaking in defense of Osaka’s controversial decision to withdraw from the tournament, 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams said earlier today, “I feel for Naomi, I wish I could give her a hug cause I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions — we have different personalities and people are different, not everyone is the same.”

Touching on how her temperament differs from Naomi’s, she continued, “I’m thick, other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently so you just have to let her handle it the way she wants to, in the best way she thinks she can. And that’s the only thing I can say. I think she’s doing the best that she can.”

See some of Morgan’s tweets from earlier today down below.

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