Piers Morgan tried to mansplain PTSD to Lady Gaga, who has PTSD

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

After harassing more than his fair share of female celebrities in 2016, Daily Mail editor-at-large Piers Morgan may have finally, officially, solidified his standing as the Absolute Worst.

In April, Morgan accused Beyoncé of playing the "race card" with her album Lemonade; in July, he blamed Jennifer Aniston for the objectification of women, suggesting she should get "a little bit uglier" to end to unrealistic beauty ideals. When model (and perpetual Morgan albatross) Chrissy Teigen came to Aniston's defense, Morgan chalked up Teigen's criticism to a "diva tantrum."

Now, the British journalist is going head-to-head with Lady Gaga, who earlier this month revealed her ongoing post-traumatic stress disorder from a rape she survived as a teenager.

Morgan, naturally, saw an opportunity to invalidate Gaga's experience altogether, writing of her PTSD: "No, soldiers returning from battlefields do. Enough of this vain-glorious nonsense."

He accused her and other celebrities of using PTSD as an excuse to "promote themselves" at the expense of military veterans, who he suggested are the sole victims of the mental illness. Morgan took it one step further still, casting doubt on whether Gaga had even been a victim of sexual assault at all.

Lady Gaga performs at the 2016 Victoria Secret Fashion Show
Source: 
Martin Bureau/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the "Million Reasons" singer attempted to set Morgan straight on Twitter, explaining that PTSD is more than a "'military' disorder."

Gaga agreed to a cordial interview with Morgan, but still remained steadfast in his refusal to see things from her side, prompting Gaga to threaten to take her business elsewhere.

Though Morgan's insensitivity to Gaga's experiences could easily be dismissed as a gaffe exclusive to his particular brand of trolling, Morgan's misconceptions about PTSD speak to a much larger misunderstanding of the epidemic.

In the mainstream, the disorder is typically discussed solely in the context of trauma soldiers endure in combat. Soldiers returning from war might experience violent flashbacks or be triggered by loud noises or feel hypervigilant, unable to shake the feeling of being in a battlefield. 

The same goes for victims of sexual assault — the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs even says so. The site reads:

Symptoms of PTSD include repeated thoughts of the assault; memories and nightmares; avoidance of thoughts, feelings, and situations related to the assault; negative changes in thought and feelings; and increased arousal (for example difficulty sleeping and concentrating, jumpiness, irritability.

One study found that roughly 1 in 3 women sexual assault victims will experience PTSD at some point in their lifetime, with rape victims being 6.2% more likely to experience PTSD than women who'd never been assaulted.

"I seek to raise awareness that this mental illness affects all kinds of people, including our youth," Gaga wrote in an open letter on her Born This Way Foundation site. "No one's invisible pain should go unnoticed."

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Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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