Almost 1,200 freelancers and executives working in the TV industry have signed a petition urging ITV to take action against Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan.
The 55-year-old is no stranger to controversy, having drawn thousands of complaints to TV regulator Ofcom for a series of pugnacious interviews with politicians over the last year.
The petition came after Morgan, who has more than 7.7 million followers on Twitter, replied to a tweet from TV researcher Adeel Amini, who had said that he would "very much say no" to working on Piers Morgan's Life Stories again.
Morgan wrote: "Hi Adeel, you spent precisely two months working on Life Stories in 2010 & judging by your CV that was the pinnacle of your TV career. So you really don't need to worry about getting any more job offers from me because I'd rather employ a lobotomised Aardvark."
The ensuing petition from industry professionals called on ITV to deal with "abusive behaviour" from "on-screen talent".
"As freelancers working within television, we feel a responsibility to speak out against bullying and harassment wherever we see it, including from on screen personalities who are all too often poorly reprimanded for unacceptable behaviour and abusive conduct," they wrote in a letter.
"We believe silence in the face of harassment is complicity, which in turn allows abusive behaviour to continue behind the scenes at every level of programme making. In particular, the abuses of on-screen talent are all too often overlooked, at the expense of the dignity, health and safety of the freelancers they target."
In response, Morgan claimed that the petition was "beyond parody", arguing that he is the real victim in the matter.
ITV has yet to respond publicly to the petition. body check tags ::