ITV has been cleared by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom, which has rejected a record 58k complaints over Piers Morgan’s comments about Meghan Markle.
On March 8, Piers and his Good Morning Britain co-hosts were discussing Meghan and Prince Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey when he said: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she says… I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report.”
The 55-year-old was widely criticised for his comments, as Meghan opened up about her mental health in the interview, and admitted she felt suicidal during her time as a senior working member of the Royal family.
The following day, Piers stormed off the show after his colleague Alex Beresford slammed him for constantly criticising the Duchess of Sussex.
Hours later, the presenter announced his departure from Good Morning Britain – after he refused to apologise for his comments.
Over 58k complaints were made to Ofcom over Piers’ comments, including a complaint from Meghan herself, but the media regulator has since ruled that GMB was not in breach of the broadcasting code.
An Ofcom spokesman said: “This was a finely-balanced decision. Mr Morgan’s comments were potentially harmful and offensive to viewers, and we recognise the strong public reaction to them. But we also took full account of freedom of expression.”
“Under our rules, broadcasters can include controversial opinions as part of legitimate debate in the public interest, and the strong challenge to Mr Morgan from other contributors provided important context for viewers.”
“Nonetheless, we’ve reminded ITV to take greater care around content discussing mental health and suicide in future. ITV might consider the use of timely warnings or signposting of support services to ensure viewers are properly protected.”
Today we’ve concluded our investigation into Piers Morgan’s comments on Good Morning Britain in the wake of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
— Ofcom (@Ofcom) September 1, 2021
Reacting to the news, Piers tweeted: “@Ofcom rejects all complaints against me over Meghan Markle furore that led to my exit from @GMB. Verdict says I was entitled to disbelieve her & Prince Harry & to restrict my right to do so would be a ‘chilling restriction on freedom of expression.'”
He added: “I’m delighted OFCOM has endorsed my right to disbelieve the Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s incendiary claims to Oprah Winfrey, many of which have proven to be untrue.”
“This is a resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios. Do I get my job back?”
I’m delighted OFCOM has endorsed my right to disbelieve the Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s incendiary claims to Oprah Winfrey, many of which have proven to be untrue. This is a resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios.
Do I get my job back? pic.twitter.com/czhzeejYpa
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 1, 2021