Piers Morgan’s Meghan comments draw most complaints in Ofcom history

Piers Morgan’s comments about the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey have led to the highest number of complaints in the TV regulator’s history.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 6:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 6:50 pm

The episodes of ITV’s Good Morning Britain on March 8 and 9 sparked 57,121 complaints to Ofcom.

A statement from the regulator said: “We can confirm that this issue has attracted the highest number of complaints since our reporting began.”

Morgan responded on Twitter, writing: “Only 57,000? I’ve had more people than that come up & congratulate me in the street for what I said. The vast majority of Britons are right behind me.”

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Morgan said on-air that he “didn’t believe a word” of the Duchess of Sussex's interview

ITV announced Morgan had left the show on the evening of March 9, shortly after Ofcom said it had launched an investigation under its harm and offence rules after receiving more than 41,000 complaints in two days.

It later emerged that Meghan also made a formal complaint to Ofcom about the TV host after he dismissed her account of suffering suicidal thoughts and experiencing racism at the hands of the royal family.

Morgan said on-air that he “didn’t believe a word” of her interview with chat show host Winfrey when she laid bare her struggles.

She raised concerns with the broadcaster about the effect Morgan’s comments may have on the issue of mental health generally and those attempting to deal with their own problems – and not about the former newspaper editor’s personal attack on herself.

After a clip aired of Meghan discussing her issues with mental health and suicidal thoughts and royal officials’ knowledge of them, Morgan said during Monday’s programme: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she says.

“I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report.”

Morgan added she had sparked an “onslaught” against the royal family.

His comments were criticised by mental health charity Mind.

The organisation previously said in a tweet it was “disappointed and concerned” by Morgan’s comments, adding: “It’s vital that when people reach out for support or share their experiences of ill mental health, they are treated with dignity, respect and empathy.”

Morgan’s final episode of the show saw him storm off the set after a heated exchange with co-star Alex Beresford, in which Beresford accused Morgan of “trashing” Meghan.

Morgan has stood by his controversial comments and said his departure from Good Morning Britain was caused by the “cancel culture that is permeating our country”.

The complaints about Morgan’s comments far exceed those made about about Celebrity Big Brother in 2018 when ex-Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett alleged she had been assaulted by fellow housemate Ryan Thomas, which prompted 25,327 complaints.

Ofcom received around 24,500 complaints about Diversity’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent last year, which was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

The controversy with Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007 was previously the most complained about issue, attracting 44,500 complaints.

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