ITV ‘vigorously defended’ Piers Morgan in Ofcom probe over Meghan Markle comments says chief exec

We were ‘not just endorsing but championing freedom of speech’ says Carolyn McCall

Piers Morgan tells Meghan Markle to 'go back to America' if she wants to live privately

The chief executive of ITV has insisted the broadcaster “vigorously defended” both Piers Morgan and Good Morning Britain during an Ofcom investigation into comments he made on the show.

The former host garnered over 50,000 complaints after he commented on the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, calling into question her mental health and alleged racist comment made by a member of the extended royal family which she had spoken of.

Following the furore, Morgan left Good Morning Britain, and in a statement said: “On Monday, I said I didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview. I’ve had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t.

“Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on.”

Ofcom launched an investigation both into Morgan’s comments and Good Morning Britain, and it was found to not have been in breach of broadcaster standards.

The chief executive of ITV, Dame Carolyn McCall, said the broadcaster had backed the former host and the programme, and had championed freedom of speech.

Speaking at the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention, she said: "I will just say that we vigorously defended both the programme and Piers to Ofcom, and the reason we didn’t get pulled up by them is because of the programme making."

She added there was "no way we wouldn’t be absolutely not just endorsing but championing freedom of speech and freedom of expression".

Responding to her comments, Morgan later tweeted: "So why did I have to leave?".

Following Ofcom’s ruling, Morgan had previously questioned whether he could return to his job on Good Morning Britain.

When asked whether there was any prospect of Morgan returning to ITV, Dame Carolyn told the conference he had resigned from his role.

However she said she expects to see Morgan, as well as former GB News chairman Andrew Neil, "working on some global platform any day soon".

The Duchess of Sussex was said to have complained directly to Dame Carolyn and Ofcom following the broadcast of Morgan’s comments in March.

Writing in his Mail Online column, Morgan had criticised her for doing so accusing her of “demanding his head on a plate”.

He said he was told by bosses at ITV to either apologise for his remarks or leave the show with immediate effect.

He wrote: "I was reliably informed recently that Meghan Markle wrote directly to my ITV boss, Dame Carolyn McCall, the night before I was forced out, demanding my head on a plate.

"Apparently, she stressed that she was writing to Dame Carolyn personally because they were both women and mothers, a nauseating playing of the gender and maternity card if ever there was one.

"What has the world come to when a whiny, fork-tongued actress can dictate who presents a morning television news programme?"

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