Dragon’s Den star and entrepreneur Steven Bartlett has defended himself against criticism after announcing Piers Morgan as the guest on his next podcast episode.
The controversial journalist and presenter will be the latest figure to feature on Bartlett’s popular podcast, The Diary of a CEO, in which he interviews influential business figures.
Recent guests include The Apprentice‘s Karen Brady, presenter Fearne Cotton, and ex-health secretary Matt Hancock.
In a tweet posted on Sunday 10 April, the entrepreneur announced Morgan for the next episode, telling followers that Morgan was “one of the most requested guests” in the podcast’s history.
In the same tweet, Bartlett said the episode deals with “cancel culture, the art of attention, failure, mental health, truth and more”, and is a “very honest conversation about life”,
Despite Bartlett’s claim that Morgan had been requested by many, he received considerable criticism for the decision to invite him on his show.
Some questioned Morgan’s business credentials, given this is supposed to be the focus of the podcast.
“You don’t even interview CEOs or business people anymore? How are Matt Hancock and Piers Morgan CEOs? Just interviewing celebrities,” wrote one critic.
Another tweeted: “NO THANKS. Why Steven WHY! First Molly Mae and now this guy?!?!?! Getserious.”
Many were anxious about how Bartlett would handle Morgan, with one suggesting he may not be able to “hold him accountable for the ignorance, sexism and toxicity he regularly spews.”
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British actor Kelechi Okafor was also concerned about the episode, tweeting: “Imagine interviewing and further platforming a man who is actively harassing a woman in front of the world. Matt Hancock and his long back groping from him trying to rebrand is one thing, but this? Yeah this is smelly.”
Bartlett hit back, tweeting: “Imagine only being willing to have a conversation with people you know you already completely agree with and sticking your fingers in your ears to anyone else. Imagine how little progress would be made in the world. Imagine judging a conversation before you’ve even heard it.”
However, someone else then responded to the entrepreneur’s retort, commenting: “Piers Morgan isn’t some unheard person without a platform though. So this sort of argument doesn’t stack up. Everyone knows what he thinks that’s why many people aren’t interested in him being platformed.”
The podcast episode will be available to listen to on 25 April, the same day as the release of Morgan’s new TalkTV show, Piers Morgan Uncensored.
One critic called Bartlett’s episode with Matt Hancock “a full hour and 43 minutes of crushing agony”, as Hancock suggested he only broke lockdown rules because he “fell in love.”
Bartlett’s podcast also gained attention when a controversial clip from an episode with influencer Molly-Mae Hague went viral, in which she discussed money and her views on her work ethic and ambition. Bartlett publicly defended her guest against claims that her comments were ignorant and out of touch.