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‘Disloyal’: Piers Morgan lashes out at ‘attention-seeking’ Alan Cumming for returning OBE

Piers Morgan has lashed out at Alan Cumming following the actor’s OBE announcement.

The Scottish actor, who was handed the title as part of the Queen’s birthday honours in 2009, revealed on Friday (27 January) that he recently returned the award.

Cumming, who has US as well as British citizenship, said that while receiving the OBE for services to the arts and LGBTQ+ activism made him “very proud to be British, and galvanised as an American”, recent public conversations regarding the monarchy and British empire have changed his perception.

“The Queen’s death and the ensuing conversations about the role of monarchy and especially the way the British empire profited at the expense (and death) of indigenous peoples across the world really opened my eyes,” he wrote on Instagram.

The 58-year-old continued: “Also, thankfully, times and laws in the US have changed, and the great good the award brought to the LGBTQ+ cause back in 2009 is now less potent than the misgivings I have being associated with the toxicity of empire (OBE stands for Officer of the British Empire).”

“So I returned my award, explained my reasons and reiterated my great gratitude for being given it in the first place. I’m now back to being plain old Alan Cumming again.”

Broadcaster Morgan hit out at Cumming’s decision, writing on Twitter: “What a pathetic, disingenuous, disloyal, attention-seeking little twerp.”

Piers Morgan wasn’t impressed with Alan Cumming’s OBE decision (Twitter)
Piers Morgan wasn’t impressed with Alan Cumming’s OBE decision (Twitter)

However, Cumming’s fans have heaped praised on the actor, who recently hosted The Traitors US, which is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

He is not the first performer to return his OBE. In December 2020, Welsh actor Michael Sheen shared a statement revealing that he too had handed back his honour.

Sheen explained that he’d undertaken extensive research into Welsh history after he was asked to speak at the Learning and Work Institutes annual Raymond William Memorial Lecture in November 2017.

“I remember sitting there going, ‘Well I have a choice: I either don’t give this lecture and hold on to my OBE or I give this lecture and I have to give my OBE back,’” he said.

Alan Cumming has handed back his OBE (Getty Images)
Alan Cumming has handed back his OBE (Getty Images)

Sheen said that he’d quietly given the award back as he realised he would have been a “hypocrite” were he to keep it and still give the lecture about “the nature of the relationship between Wales and the British state, and the history of it”.

Find a full ist of celebrites who rejected OBEs here.