The regulator said Good Morning Britain was not in breach of the broadcasting code but added that Morgan’s comments were “potentially harmful and offensive”.
We want to hear from you: let us know what you think about this story and be part of the debate in our comments section below
At a glance: 5 key points
- The former GMB presenter said the ruling was a “resounding victory”.
- Morgan left the ITV show after saying he did not believe claims made by Meghan during her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
- Following the ruling, Morgan tweeted: “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. This is a resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios. Do I get my job back?”
- The episode on March 8 became the most complained about moment in the watchdog’s history and it emerged that Meghan had made a formal complaint to ITV about Morgan.
- In July this year Ofcom published a list of the 10 most complained about TV broadcasts as part of its annual report for 2020/21, with the Good Morning Britain episode during which Morgan made his comments becoming the most complained about TV moment in the watchdog’s history with 54,453 complaints.
What’s been said
“This was a finely-balanced decision. Mr Morgan’s comments were potentially harmful and offensive to viewers, and we recognise the strong public reaction to them.
“But we also took full account of freedom of expression. Under our rules, broadcasters can include controversial opinions as part of legitimate debate in the public interest, and the strong challenge to Mr Morgan from other contributors provided important context for viewers.
“Nonetheless, we’ve reminded ITV to take greater care around content discussing mental health and suicide in future. ITV might consider the use of timely warnings or signposting of support services to ensure viewers are properly protected.”
Meghan, 40, said she was ignored when raising concerns about her mental health and alleged that racist comments had been made before the birth of her son, Archie.
After a clip aired of Meghan discussing her issues with mental health and suicidal thoughts and royal official’s knowledge of them, Morgan said during the ITV programme: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she says.
“I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report.”
His comments were criticised by mental health charity Mind.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.