Piers Morgan has been called “unprofessional” and “disgraceful” by fellow journalists who accused him of breaking an embargo on BBC stars’ salaries by tweeting figures ahead of their official release this morning.
Morgan released details of the corporation’s top earners at 10.08am on Twitter ahead of the 11am release of the addition to the BBC Annual Report, which contained new figures for all BBC staff earning more than £150,000 a year.
The BBC organised a press conference this morning and made the report available to journalists selected to attend in the hours beforehand.
Morgan claimed a “scoop” online, but his actions enraged a number of journalists who said he had broken an agreement not to report the figures before a designated time.
The Good Morning Britain presenter was chastised by fellow ITV colleague and news anchor Alastair Stewart, who tweeted: “Breaking an embargo, with stuff we’ve all been sitting on for hours, is not a ‘scoop’, it is naff, delusional and unprofessional.”
Morgan, who has nearly 6m followers on Twitter, replied: “You snooze, you lose mate.”
Buzzfeed UK editor-in-chief Janine Gibson also tweeted at Morgan, saying: “Well I suppose you may or may not think the BBC News staff are overpaid but at least they understand the word ‘embargo’.”
Morgan, former editor of the Daily Mirror, replied: “I understand the word ‘scoop’ better.”
Guardian digital editor Ian Prior said: “Breaking embargoes is being that repulsive brat who sneakily unwraps his presents on December 23. Scoop my arse.”
Sky News senior political correspondent Beth Rigby said: “Piers Morgan is utterly disgraceful to break embargo when hacks gathered at BBC for press conference and respected lock-in. Shame on him.”
She added: “Morgan breaks an embargo that dozens of journos honour and calls it a scoop. Funny guy. And a bit of a joke.”
Morgan tweeted to Rigby: “Oh settle down, petal. I just scooped you. Be better next time.”
He later added: “I’d like to apologise to all fellow journalists I scooped on BBC salary story. I can’t help being this good at my job, unfortunately.”