Piers Morgan mocked tennis champion Naomi Osaka after she returned to social media to share her Vogue Japan cover.
The women’s world number two previously revealed that she would be refusing press obligations because of the impact on her mental health.
The 23-year-old Japanese tennis player then announced she would be taking some time away from the court to deal with anxiety and depression.
Now, former Good Morning Britain presenter Morgan has taken aim at Osaka over her decision to appear on the cover of Vogue Japan.
Sharing her first tweet since announcing her withdrawal from the French Open, Osaka wrote: “Hi guys. Popping out to post this @voguemagazine Japan cover, hope you’re all doing well and staying safe.”
In response, Morgan wrote: “Great to see Naomi courageously using the beastly media to promote herself again. Inspiring!”
Newsweek has contacted representatives of Osaka for comment.
The tweet sparked an immediate backlash, with users arguing media interviews during or after matches are not the same as magazine covers.
Responding to Morgan, Twitter user @Christoph0512 wrote: “You’re not the brightest if you can’t see the difference in types of media.”
“There is a difference between a vogue interview and some tabloid journalist who doesn’t follow tennis asking her ridiculous questions after a loss,” @liamgym posted.
@jshanghai2002 said: “Think you have real issues with strong independent woman, very strange.”
Others highlighted that there’s a good chance the pictures were taken prior to the tennis player’s announcement.
Meanwhile, some could not resist likening the situation to the presenter’s Good Morning Britain exit, which saw him storm off set after he announced he did not believe Meghan Markle‘s claims, from her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Sharing a GIF of him marching off the breakfast show’s set, user @ICantTypo said: “Actual footage of Piers Morgan courageously dealing with the beastly media.”
@S40ghr shared: “Says the man who is happy to criticise others yet when he is criticised himself by colleagues walks off his show!!”
Osaka’s decision to step back from press interviews previously left the British broadcaster feeling less than impressed as he claimed she earns millions thanks to positive media attention.
Morgan made the comments shortly after the news broke at the beginning of June.
At the time, he responded to a Vanity Fair headline that cited that Osaka had received an outpouring of support from celebrities and athletes after deciding not to compete in the French Open.
“Nothing is more courageous, admirable or inspiring than an athlete earning $55m-a-year, much of it thanks to positive media attention, who refuses to compete because they don’t want to answer possibly negative questions at a press conference,” the television personality wrote.
Representatives of Osaka did not respond to Newsweek‘s request for comment at the time.