Ofcom clears Piers Morgan over Meghan Markle comments following record number of complaints

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ITV has been cleared by Ofcom over Piers Morgan’s comments about Meghan Markle on Good Morning Britain.

The presenter attracted widespread criticism in March for remarks he made following Meghan and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Morgan stated he “didn’t believe a word” the duchess stated about fighting suicidal ideas and disputed her account of allegedly experiencing racism throughout her time as a senior royal.

His on-air outburst prompted a record number of 57,121 Ofcom complaints – the best number within the TV regulator’s historical past – and led to his exit from GMB.

But Ofcom dominated on Wednesday that Morgan’s behaviour didn’t break its broadcasting code.

An announcement from Ofcom stated: “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 the programme provided open debate on the issues raised by the interview.”

It added that the programme “allowed for an important discussion to be had on the nature and impact of racism”.

Ofcom argued that 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”.

The assertion concluded: “Despite strong opinions expressed during the programme, in Ofcom’s view any potential offence was justified by the context and the comments and discussions about race and racism were not in breach of rule 2.3 of the code.”

Rule 2.3 dictates that broadcasters “must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context” and that “appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising context”.

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The broadcaster concluded that Meghan and Prince Harry’s Oprah interview “contained serious allegations and it was legitimate for this programme to discuss and scrutinises those claims including their veracity”.

(AP)

Responding to information of Ofcom’s ruling, Morgan wrote on Twitter: “BREAKING: @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 and Prince Harry and to restrict my right to do so would be a ‘chilling restriction on freedom of expression.’”

Piers Morgan pictured in 2017

(Getty)

The former GMB presenter praised the choice as a “resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios” earlier than asking, “Do I get my job back?”

At the time of the incident, following backlash from viewers, Morgan elaborated on his comments, stating that he wished to “clarify his position on mental health” and stated that it’s “not for me to question whether she was feeling suicidal”.

He claimed his “disbelief” was over her allegations that “she went to a senior member of the royal household, told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family”.

However, the 56-year-old has since continued to confer with the duchess as “Princess Pinocchio” and says he “still” doesn’t consider her.

In an interview following his departure from GMB, Morgan repeated his comments about Meghan, stating: “If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly-held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it.”

Mental well being charity Mind shared an announcement on Twitter in response to Morgan’s on-air comments, writing: “We were disappointed and concerned to see Piers Morgan’s comments on not believing Meghan’s experiences about suicidal thoughts today.

The charity wrote that “it’s vital that when people reach out for support or share their experiences of ill mental health that they are treated with dignity, respect and empathy”.

If you’re experiencing emotions of misery and isolation, or are struggling to manage, The Samaritans affords assist; you’ll be able to converse to somebody without spending a dime over the telephone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), e mail jo@samaritans.org, or go to the Samaritans web site to search out particulars of your nearest department.

If you’re based mostly within the USA, and also you or somebody you recognize wants psychological well being help proper now, name National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential disaster hotline that’s accessible to everybody 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

If you’re overseas, you’ll be able to go to www.befrienders.org to discover a helpline close to you.



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