Piers Morgan's controversial comments about Meghan Markle cleared by U.K.'s Ofcom: 'Do I get my job back?'

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Fox News 01 September, 2021 - 07:32am 8 views

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Piers Morgan's controversial comments about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey have been cleared by Ofcom.

The U.K.'s office of communications confirmed on Wednesday it had concluded its investigation into the former "Good Morning Britain" co-host's comments made on the ITV program on March 8, which drew more than 40,000 complaints. 

"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 tweeted.

Ofcom listed the investigation status as "not in breach," and in a summary called it a "finely-balanced decision."

"Mr. Morgan's comments were potentially harmful and offensive to viewers, and we recognise the strong public reaction to them. 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 decision summary of the 97-page report reads.

"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," it concludes.

Morgan reacted to the decision on Wednesday, asking his nearly 8 million Twitter followers if it means he will now get his 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. Do I get my job back?" Morgan wrote.

ITV also reacted to the ruling in a statement shared with Fox News on Wednesday.

We welcome the Ofcom ruling that Good Morning Britain did not breach the broadcast standards relating to harm and offence. The ruling sets out clearly that it was the balance and context the programme makers provided which was key in mitigating against the potential for harm and offence which could have been caused by Piers Morgan's comments. It is because of the programme's editorial decisions and the opposing views which were forcefully expressed by other presenters and guests, that the programme did not breach Ofcom's rules," the network said.

One day later, Morgan departed the show and his exit was confirmed by the network.

"Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain," ITV said at the time. "ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add."

Morgan's TV scandal later led to drama at "The Talk" after Sharon Osbourne expressed support for his comments in an exchange with her former co-host Sheryl Underwood. Osbourne ultimately left the CBS talk show, leading Morgan to rip the network for caving to cancel culture.

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GMB cleared by Ofcom over Piers Morgan’s comments about Meghan

Evening Standard 01 September, 2021 - 03:00pm

Piers Morgan gets clean chit over controversial comments on Meghan Markle from UK media regulator

PINKVILLA 01 September, 2021 - 09:53am

It was revealed by the UK office of communications on Wednesday that the investigation related to Morgan's comments was concluded and that he was "not in breach" in keeping with the freedom of speech law. As reported by Fox News, the statement made by UK board said, "Mr. Morgan's comments were potentially harmful and offensive to viewers, and we recognise the strong public reaction to them. 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 decision also irked a response from Morgan himself who took to Twitter to write, "Do I get my job back?" and also called it a victory for free speech. He also added being delighted by the board's decision to endorse his right to disbelieve the Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s claims made during the Oprah Winfrey interview in July. 

For the unreversed, Morgan faced major backlash from viewers after he expressed his disbelief over Harry and Meghan's statements about racism and bullying related to the royal family. Morgan also got into a heated argument with his co-host Alex Beresford on-air over his controversial opinions about Markle and his reaction to the Oprah interview. Following this, Piers announced his exit from Good Morning Britain. 

ALSO READ: Prince Harry & Meghan Markle recognise palace’s attempt to ‘actively undermine’ them before Oprah interview?

Piers Morgan reacts after British media watchdog clears him over Meghan Markle comments: 'Princess Pinocchio'

Yahoo Entertainment 01 September, 2021 - 09:26am

"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.

— 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.”

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.

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Piers Morgan Cleared for Criticizing Meghan After Oprah Interview

The New York Times 01 September, 2021 - 08:29am

Mr. Morgan had been under investigation after he said on air that he did not believe Meghan’s claims that palace officials had refused her requests for mental health treatment.

LONDON — The British TV personality Piers Morgan was cleared on Wednesday by Britain’s communications regulator over critical comments he made on air about Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, after her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Mr. Morgan had been under investigation by Ofcom, the media regulator, which received a record number of complaints in March after he criticized Meghan on air and said he did not believe her accounts of being poorly treated by the royal establishment.

In a 97-page ruling outlining the decision, Ofcom said that “Mr. Morgan was entitled to say he disbelieved the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s allegations and to hold and express strong views that rigorously challenged their account.”

In an interview broadcast in March, Meghan — a biracial former actress from the United States known for her role in the legal drama “Suits” and for her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018 — told Ms. Winfrey that when she was pregnant with her first child, an unnamed member of the royal household expressed concerns about how dark the color of the baby’s skin would be. Meghan also said that palace officials refused her requests to seek mental health treatment when she said she had become suicidal.

Responding on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” to Meghan’s claims, Mr. Morgan, who formerly anchored the daytime show, said he did not believe the duchess. More than 50,000 complaints about his criticism were lodged with the British media watchdog, including one filed by Meghan herself.

Mr. Morgan stormed off the set of the show, and later resigned, after his co-host Alex Beresford admonished him for his persistent criticism of Meghan. Ofcom announced the next day that it had opened an investigation into Mr. Morgan’s comments under its “harm and offense” rules.

On Wednesday, Mr. Morgan expressed delight on Twitter about the decision to clear him, writing that it was a “resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios.”

In his tweet, Mr. Morgan asked if he would get his old job back. In a statement, ITV said it welcomed the ruling that “Good Morning Britain” did not breach broadcasting standards, but added that it had “no current plans” to invite Mr. Morgan to present the daily morning show.

In an opinion article he wrote for The Daily Mail newspaper in response to Ofcom’s decision, Mr. Morgan wrote: “Make no mistake, this is a watershed moment in the battle for free speech. If Ofcom had found against me, that would have signaled the end of every U.K. TV journalist’s right to express any honestly held opinion on air lest it upset the likes of Meghan Markle.”

After the prime-time interview with Ms. Winfrey aired, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were thrust into the center of a national debate around race, mental health and the royal family that divided the British public.

Harry and Meghan blamed the British press for driving them out of the country with its relentless attacks on the duchess, but the Society of Editors, an influential news media society, denied that racism had been a factor in coverage of the couple. The organization later made an embarrassing U-turn after more than 160 journalists of color signed an open letter rejecting that contention.

In January 2020, the couple announced that they would “step back” from their official royal duties, with the intention of dividing their time between Britain and North America. This year, Buckingham Palace announced that Harry was to be stripped of his honorary military titles and royal patronage appointments.

Harry and Meghan later founded their own production company, Archewell Productions, named after their charitable foundation, and signed a multiyear deal with Netflix to make programming like documentaries, feature films and shows for children. Archewell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In June, the couple — who already had a son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsorwelcomed a daughter, Lilibet Diana.

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