Ofcom launches investigation into Piers Morgan's comments on Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview
Ofcom has launched an investigation after it received more than 41,000 complaints about comments made by presenter Piers Morgan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme about Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The presenter made dismissive comments about Meghan’s claims to have had issues with her mental health during the show.
Shortly after Ofcom announced it would launch an investigation, ITV revealed that Morgan will be leaving the show.
In a brief statement, the company said: "Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain.
"ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add."Regarding it's investigation, an Ofcom spokesperson said: “We have launched an investigation into Monday’s episode of Good Morning Britain under our harm and offence rules.”
Racism claims raised by Meghan 'concerning' and 'will be addressed', says Buckingham Palace in response to interview
After a clip aired of Meghan discussing her issues with mental health and suicidal thoughts, alongside 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 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.”
During Tuesday’s programme, Morgan addressed his comments about Meghan’s mental health.
He said: “When we talked about this yesterday, I said as an all-encompassing thing. I don’t believe what Meghan Markle is saying generally in this interview, and I still have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what she said.
“But let me just state, on the record, my position about mental illness and on suicide. These are clearly extremely serious things that should be taken extremely seriously, and if someone is feeling that way they should get the treatment and help they need every time.”
Also on Tuesday's show, Morgan stormed off set following a discussion about Meghan with his colleague Alex Beresford.
Piers Morgan walks off set after Alex Beresford confronts him about his remarks
Weather presenter Beresford defended the couple, who have made global headlines following their bombshell interview with Winfrey.
He took Morgan to task, saying: “I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or had one, and she cut you off.
“She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to. Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has but yet you continue to trash her.”
Morgan then stood up and said: “OK, I’m done with this”. He then walked off set, saying: “Sorry, no… sorry, can’t do this…”. As he stormed off set, Beresford called his behaviour "diabolical".
ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall subsequently said on Tuesday the row was not “manufactured”.
Dame Carolyn added that ITV managing director of media and entertainment Kevin Lygo had been in discussion with Morgan in recent days regarding his coverage of the Harry and Meghan interview.
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She said Good Morning Britain was a “balanced show”, adding: “ITV has many voices and we try and represent many voices every day. It’s not about one opinion.”
Harry and Meghan, now living in the US, made a number of explosive revelations in their interview, among them an allegation that a member of the family – not the Queen or Duke of Edinburgh – had made a racist comment about their unborn son, Archie.
During the interview, which first aired in the US and was broadcast on ITV on Monday night, Meghan spoke openly about her mental health, telling Winfrey she had had suicidal thoughts and had asked to go somewhere to get help, but was told it would not look good by one of the most senior people in the institution.
A statement issued by Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen on Tuesday said the royal family was “saddened” by the revelations made in the interview and the issues raised around race were “concerning”.
Oprah With Meghan and Harry is available to watch on demand on ITV Hub for viewers in the UK.