Controversial British media personality Piers Morgan has jokingly demanded his job back after being cleared over astonishing on-air comments about Meghan Markle.
Britain’s media watchdog Ofcom ruled that Morgan’s ‘offensive’ outburst about the Duchess of Sussex on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in March did not breach the broadcasting code, despite a record number of complaints from viewers.
Morgan, who stormed off the set and quit the show after an on-air row with other presenters, described Ofcom’s ruling on Wednesday (British time) as a “resounding victory” and a blow to “cancel culture”.
“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 Pinocchio,” he tweeted.
“Do I get my job back?”
It is not the first time Morgan has used the derogatory name for the California-based duchess, with whom he has a long-running conflict.
Ofcom launched an investigation into Morgan’s GMB comments after more than 40,000 complaints from viewers. Among those to complain was Meghan, who was reportedly concerned his remarks might prevent others seeking help for mental health issues.
The outburst followed Meghan and husband Prince Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which they revealed she felt suicidal while pregnant with son Archie and was denied help by the royal family. They also made shocking claims of racism in the British royals.
“I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she says,” Morgan said on air.
“I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report.”
Co-presenter Susanna Reid noted that Meghan had said she’d been driven to the verge of taking her own life and described Morgan’s response as a “pathetic reaction”.
“She says that, yes,” Morgan replied.
But things got more heated when weatherman Alex Beresford added his criticism to Morgan’s comments.
“I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle, you’ve made it so clear a number of times on this program,” Beresford said.
“Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has, but yet you continue to trash her.”
Mr Morgan then walked off saying “OK, I’m done with this”. He announced his resignation from GMB shortly after.
In its 97-page ruling into the incident, the British media regulator found that Morgan’s remarks were “potentially harmful and offensive”. But it said they were permitted and any restriction of such views would have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.
“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 program provided open debate on the issues raised by the interview,” Ofcom said.
“We also considered that the program 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.”
Morgan wrote a triumphant column in Britain’s Daily Mail on Thursday, describing the judgment as “a watershed moment in the battle for free speech”.
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