ITV has responded to criticism surrounding Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan’s mimicry of the Chinese language.
The on-air moment, which happened on 21st January, attracted over 1,500 Ofcom complaints after Morgan made exaggerated noises during a conversation about a Chinese milk advert, which stars the Queen’s grandson Peter Philips, who speaks Mandarin during the ad.
“At the next royal event, can you imagine Christmas at Sandringham is like – ‘I’m sorry, Your Majesty, but I only drink yang yank yong ying ming milk,” Morgan said during the segment, before later adding: “OK then – ching chang chong, OK, I got it.”
ITV has now addressed the incident, stating that the presenter was mocking Philips and not “Chinese people, their language or accent”.
In a statement, ITV said: “GMB is known for its lively and robust discussion of the news agenda and recently covered Peter Phillips’ appearance in a Chinese milk advertisement.
“The discussion was focused on whether it was appropriate for members of the Royal family to endorse products abroad in this manner, and was live and unscripted. Piers Morgan’s comments, and his mimicking of the Chinese language in the advertisement, was a spontaneous reaction to the advertisement.”
The statement concluded: “These comments were intended to mock a member of the Royal Family and were not intended to mock or denigrate Chinese people, their language or accent. ITV regrets any offence Piers’ comments may unintentionally have caused.”
Morgan himself has also defended his “spontaneous reaction,” taking to Twitter to reiterate that he was “mocking a member of the British royal family appearing in an advert for Chinese state milk, not Chinese people”.
However, Morgan’s co-presenter Susanna Reid apparently wasn’t impressed with his comments at the time, stating on-air: “For God’s sake… taking the mick out of languages is rather 1970s.”