piers morgan controversy

The regulator issued a 97-page assessment on Wednesday, concluding that the broadcast journalist and former host of the U.K. chat show Good Morning Britain was “not in breach of its broadcasting standards” when he questioned Meghan Markle’s allegations of suicidal thoughts live on air.

Back in March, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a candid interview in which Markle revealed that she had felt suicidal while living in England and did not receive the assistance she required from the Royal family.

Morgan spoke out against the duchess on Good Morning Britain the day after the interview aired, calling her conversation with Winfrey the “acting performance of her life” that was “designed to portray her as the ultimate victim,” casting doubt on Markle’s struggles with mental health and suicidal ideation, stating that he does not believe the Palace would have ignored her needs.

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Meghan Markle with Piers Morgan

Morgan was chastised by mental health organization Mind after his comments, and a record-breaking 57,793 complaints were lodged against him with Ofcom, including one from Markle herself.

Piers Morgan Controversy

According to the majority of the complaints, Morgan’s comments on mental health and suicide were “both detrimental to the audience and very disrespectful.”

However, in its recently released report, Ofcom stated, “Mr. Morgan was free to indicate he didn’t believe the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s claims and to have and express strong opinions that thoroughly disputed their narrative.

Individuals may express strongly held and vigorously contested ideas, including those that are potentially damaging or highly offensive, under the [Ofcom broadcasting] rules, and broadcasters may incorporate these in their programs.”

“The prohibition of such views, in our opinion, would be an unnecessary and chilling restriction on freedom of expression for both the broadcaster and the listener,” he continues.

While the regulator was “especially concerned about Mr. Morgan’s approach to such an important and serious problem, as well as his apparent disrespect for the severity of anyone expressing suicide thoughts,” it also “took full account of freedom of expression.”

“Under our rules, broadcasters can feature contentious ideas as part of legitimate debate in the public interest, and other contributors’ forceful rebuttal to Mr. Morgan provided crucial context for viewers,” the regulator stated.

“Nonetheless, we have urged ITV to be more cautious in the future when discussing mental health and suicide. To ensure viewers’ safety, ITV may consider using timely warnings or directing them to support resources.”

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Morgan, not one to take bad news quietly, has been outspoken about Ofcom’s decision on social media. He tweeted on Wednesday that the regulator’s decision is a “vindication of me,” a “thundering win for freedom of speech, and a resounding loss for Princess Pinocchios who think we should all be compelled to believe every fork-tongued word they say.” Since the interview, Morgan has frequently referred to Markle as “Princess Pinocchio.”

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