Piers Morgan has been cleared by British media regulator Ofcom for his comments criticizing Meghan Markle.
"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," the watchdog tweeted, along with a 97-page report on its findings.
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.
Read our decision and the reasons for it here (pdf) ➡️ https://t.co/bzU8cZ4Sazpic.twitter.com/cc8x7ct7av
— Ofcom (@Ofcom) September 1, 2021
The group received more than 50,000 complaints following Morgan's criticism on GMB in March. "The majority of which said that comments about mental health and suicide made by [Morgan] were both harmful to the audience and highly offensive and that discussions on issues relating to race and racism … were highly offensive to some viewers," the report stated.
Markle issued a formal complaint as well after Morgan suggested she was lying — about allegations of racism she experienced from within the royal family — and was dismissive of her sharing that she experienced suicidal thoughts as a senior member of the royal family.
Ofcom said that while Morgan's comments were "potentially harmful and offensive," GMB was not in breach of the broadcasting code. "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," it stated.
However, the group also reminded parent company "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.”
Morgan, who stormed off the show when called out by his co-host for his remarks and later quit, celebrated his "vindication."
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A post shared by Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan)
In his Daily Mail column, he said it's a "resounding victory for freedom of speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchio."
He said he "didn't believe a word Meghan Markle said" when she spoke to Winfrey — and said so. "This triggered a furious protest from fans of the couple who accused me of being a racist callous misogynist who was belittling Meghan's 'lived experience' of mental health and racism," he wrote.
However, "Today, in a stunning verdict, Ofcom announced that they agreed with this argument, and rejected every single complaint against me. Their report is lengthy and detailed, but in the end, it came down to an unequivocal and emphatic endorsement of my right to an opinion."
Morgan joked about whether he now gets his job back as host, a gig he had for six years before he stormed out.
Morgan's comments sparked debate far and wide — and ultimately set into motion Sharon Osbourne's departure from The Talk. Osbourne defended her friend Morgan on air, leading to a big debate on the CBS talk show. Stemming from that — and subsequent claims by past co-hosts — she was pushed out as show host, a job she had for 11 years.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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