Piers Morgan’s comments on ITV’s Good Morning Britain about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey are being investigated by Ofcom.
The media regulator said it launched the probe after receiving more than 41,000 complaints over remarks Mr Morgan made on the daily news programme on Monday, which he had co-anchored with Susanna Reid until resigning the following evening.
The controversial media figure described the royal couple’s tell-all interview with Ms Winfrey, which aired in the US on Sunday and in the UK the following day, as “a two-hour trash-a-thon of our royal family” for which Meghan deserved an Oscar nomination.
Meghan told Mrs Winfrey that the abuse she suffered from the British tabloids, and the lack of support she received from the royal family, left her feeling as though she “didn’t want to be alive anymore”.
She said her “mental welfare” deteriorated to such an extent that she was forced to go to events with her husband for fear of what she might do if she was “left alone”.
Both the Duke and Duchess also claimed they approached people in the royal “institution” for help but were turned away.
Responding to the revelations, Mr Morgan questioned their validity. “Who did you go to? What did they say to you?” he asked.
He continued: “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.”
The reaction prompted mental health charity Mind to release a statement to say it was “disappointed and concerned to see [Mr Morgan’s] comments on not believing Meghan’s experiences about suicidal thoughts today”.
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Mr Morgan, who has previously worked for The Sun, News of the World, The Mirror and MailOnline, also condemned the duke and duchess’ criticism of the British press, saying he was “sickened” by the “absolutely disgraceful” interview and was “angry to the point of falling over”.
He said the pair could not be seen as “compassionate” because they had “trashed” Harry’s family and “everything the Queen has worked so hard to maintain”.
An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We have launched an investigation into Monday’s episode of Good Morning Britain under our harm and offence rules.”
The episode, which had received 41,015 complaints about Mr Morgan’s comments by 2pm on Tuesday, is on its way to becoming one of the regulator’s most complained-about incidents ever.
It is already attracted more complaints than Britain’s Got Talent’s Black Lives Matter row last year (24,500) and nearly matched the Shilpa Shetty race row with Jade Goody on Big Brother in 2007, which saw 44,500 people complain.
On Tuesday, Mr Morgan stormed off the set of Good Morning Britain altogether after clashing with the show’s weather presenter, Alex Beresford, about the Winfrey interview.
Mr Beresford defended the couple, telling his colleague: “I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or had one, and she cut you off. 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 got up, saying “sorry, can’t do this”, and left the studio, which he later defended on Twitter: “I just prefer not to sit there listening to colleagues call me diabolical.”
Buckingham Palace has responded to the duke and duchess’ interview on behalf of the Queen, to say the allegations would be “addressed by the family privately”.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” a statement said.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
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