Tonya Harding Almost Ends TV Interview After Host Says Nancy Kerrigan Was the Real Victim
"Maybe it suits you to play the victim," Morgan told Harding, "but the victim in all this wasn't you. It was Nancy Kerrigan"
Tonya Harding nearly cut short a Tuesday appearance on Good Morning Britain during an interview with hostPiers Morgan, who was trying to pin down whether Harding was involved in the 1994 attack on skating rival Nancy Kerrigan.
The segment grew contentious as Harding attempted to redirect the focus onto a new biopic about her life, I, Tonya, starring Margot Robbie. The film dramatizes Harding’s hardscrabble upbringing, including the domestic violence she faced.
“I respect you for trying to ask these questions, however I am really here just to talk about the future and what it means,” Harding told Morgan. “My movie now, to me, is going to help so many people to realize that it is okay to ask for help. It took me so long to be able to ask for somebody to help me. So that’s why I’m here speaking to you today.”
“Maybe it suits you to play the victim,” Morgan told Harding. “But I think the victim in all this wasn’t you. It was Nancy Kerrigan who had her Olympic dream shattered.”
Harding paused before responding: “Thank you so much. I appreciate being on your show, but I think I’m going to have to say, ‘Have a good night.’ ”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
“You’re going to end the interview because I think that Nancy Kerrigan was the victim here and not you?” Morgan asked incredulously.
“You weren’t letting me finish,” Harding responded. “I think that many people are the victims of abuse every single day and can’t stand up for themselves. People need to be able to understand that we need to stand united and that abuse should not be happening anymore.”
Harding ultimately didn’t leave and continued speaking with Morgan. “People don’t seem to understand there was a lot I was going through,” she said.
When Morgan asked her if she was in on the plan to attack Kerrigan, Harding responded, “No, I did not know anything prior.”
“Okay, we’ll leave it there,” Morgan responded, ending the interview.
Harding has long disputed allegations of her involvement in the January 1994 attack, when a baton-wielding man struck Kerrigan on the leg. Though she was not charged in its commission, Harding pleaded guilty to conspiring to hinder the prosecution of what happened.
She received three years’ probation, 500 hours of community service and a $160,000 fine — and was ultimately banned from U.S. Figure Skating for life, after their investigation found she “had prior knowledge [of the attack] and was involved prior to the incident.” (Harding denied this.)
Speaking out in an ABC special set to air later this week, Harding said of the planned assault that “I knew that something was up.”
Asked if she said to ex-husband Jeff Gillooly to go through with the plot, she said “no.” But, she said, she did “overhear” the assailants talking about how “maybe we should take somebody out so we can make sure she gets on the team.”
“I go, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ ” she said, noting that she “absolutely” believes she was “a pawn.”