Ofcom has concluded that Piers Morgan’s comments about Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and her interview with Oprah Winfrey on Good Morning Britain back in March did not breach its rules.
The regulator announced its findings this morning, ruling that Morgan’s right to freedom of expression was a factor in the decision.
“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,” Ofcom said in a statement.
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
Read our decision and the reasons for it here (pdf) ➡️ https://t.co/bzU8cZ4Saz pic.twitter.com/cc8x7ct7av
“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.”
The broadcasting regulator added that it had reminded ITV “to take greater care around content discussing mental health and suicide” in the future.
“ITV might consider the use of timely warnings or signposting of support services to ensure viewers are properly protected.”
Morgan took to Twitter to share Ofcom’s verdict, writing: “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,” he added. “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.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 1, 2021
Do I get my job back? pic.twitter.com/czhzeejYpa
In March, Morgan addressed Meghan Markle’s comments during her interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which she said there was a time when she “didn’t want to be alive anymore”, with Morgan telling Good Morning Britain viewers: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word [Markle] says. I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report, and the fact that she’s fired up this onslaught against our royal family, I think is contemptible.”
The following day, Morgan stormed off the set of the ITV breakfast programme after a debate with co-host Alex Beresford over his comments and later in the day, ITV confirmed that Morgan would be leaving Good Morning Britain.