UK regulator clears Piers Morgan over Meghan Markle comments
UK regulator rules on the most complained about moment in its history.
Controversial British presenter Piers Morgan has been cleared of breaching the broadcasting code over his comments around the Duchess of Sussex.
Following Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview, Morgan made dismissive comments about Meghan Markle’s claims to have had issues with her mental health. He stormed off the set of Good Morning Britain and was fired for refusing to apologise, sparking international headlines.
In March, more than 57,000 complaints were received by UK regulator OfCom -the most complained about moment in the watchdog’s history.
This week it concluded Morgan’s comments were “potentially harmful and offensive” but said it also “took full account of freedom of expression”.
In a summary of their “finely balanced” decision, Ofcom said: “While we acknowledged that Mr Morgan’s questions about the nature of racism had the potential to be highly offensive to some viewers, the conversations about race and racism in this programme provided open debate on the issues raised by the interview.
“We also considered that the programme allowed for an important discussion to be had on the nature and impact of racism. ITV had clearly anticipated that racial issues would be discussed at length as part of the coverage of the interview and had taken steps to ensure context could be provided during the discussions.”
But it also added, “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.”
Following the ruling, Morgan tweeted: “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?”