Piers Morgan asks ‘Do I get my job back?’ after Ofcom rules GMB did not breach broadcasting code

Ruling found that ‘potentially harmful’ and ‘highly offensive’ statements were allowed on the grounds of free speech

Louis Chilton
Wednesday 01 September 2021 10:59
Piers Morgan walks out of GMB after criticism from Alex Beresford

Piers Morgan has responded after Good Morning Britain was cleared of violating broadcasting code of conduct by oversight body Ofcom.

The presenter left his position as host of the popular ITV talk show in March, following an uproar over comments he made about Meghan Markle.

Morgan attracted nearly 60,000 complaints for his remarks about Meghan and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.

In the interview, Meghan revealed she previously had suicidal thoughts due to the abuse she had received when joining the royal family. Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Morgan said: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report.”

He departed the series shortly after, having walked off the set of GMB during his final appearance after being criticised by co-host Alex Beresford.

In a new ruling, Ofcom said that ITV had “provided adequate protection to viewers from potentially harmful and highly offensive statements about mental health and suicide”.

Its conclusion read: “Consistent with freedom of expression, 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.

“The code allows for individuals to express strongly held and robustly argued views, including those that are potentially harmful or highly offensive, and for broadcasters to include these in their programming. The restriction of such views would, in our view, be an unwarranted and chilling restriction on freedom of expression both of the broadcaster and the audience.”

Reacting to the verdict on Twitter, Morgan wrote: “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.

Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

“This is a resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios. Do I get my job back?”

Others reacted differently to news of Ofcom’s ruling, sharing their thoughts on social media.

“Just because you are cleared by Ofcom it doesn’t make you morally right,” wrote one person.

“What about all the poor people suffering from suicidal thoughts that have stayed quiet still because someone on a giant platform said he didn’t believe another person felt the same?! What about those poor humans, when do they get there trust in humanity back??” wrote someone else.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.