The presenter sparked a huge backlash after he made noises live on air during the 21 January broadcast, in what was apparently an imitation of a Chinese advert featuring the Queen’s grandson, Peter Phillips.
Piers then requested the ad be played again, after which he declared: “Ching chang cho jo”, again trying to repeat what was said in the advert.
After TV watchdog Ofcom received over 1,500 complaints about Piers’ behaviour, ITV has now issued a statement apologising for offence caused.
The broadcaster said (via Digital Spy): “GMB is known for its lively and robust discussion of the news agenda and recently covered Peter Phillips’ appearance in a Chinese milk advertisement.
“The discussion was focused on whether it was appropriate for members of the Royal family to endorse products abroad in this manner, and was live and unscripted. Piers Morgan’s comments, and his mimicking of the Chinese language in the advertisement, was a spontaneous reaction to the advertisement.”
“These comments were intended to mock a member of the Royal Family and were not intended to mock or denigrate Chinese people, their language or accent.
“ITV regrets any offence Piers’ comments may unintentionally have caused.”
During the episode, Piers’ co-host Susanna Reid told him that “taking the mickey out of foreign languages is rather 1970s”, to which he loudly hit back: “Surely you can take the mickey out of it! He’s using ‘ching chang chong’ milk from the Chinese state – that’s what they said in the advert!
“I can’t repeat what they’re saying in the advert… I’m trying to mimic the wording of that advertisement.”
The presenter later insisted on Twitter that he wasn’t “mocking Chinese people”, but was instead mocking a “a member of the British royal family appearing in an advert for Chinese state milk”.
After receiving 1,589 complaints, Ofcom is currently assessing them all before deciding whether to formally investigate, as is standard procedure.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.