The presenter faced a huge backlash when he cast doubt on claims made by the Duchess of Sussex during her TV interview with Oprah Winfrey,
During the live broadcast in March, Piers and co-host Susanna Reid were shown a clip of Meghan telling Oprah she’d experienced “suicidal thoughts” after joining the Royal Family.
Meghan said in the footage: “I went to the institution. And I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. I said that I’d never felt this way before, and I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn’t, because it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
Reacting to the clip live on air, Piers said he “[doesn’t] believe a word [Meghan] says”, adding: “I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report, and the fact that she’s fired up this onslaught against our Royal Family, I think, is contemptible.”
It was later revealed that this had become the most complained-about incident in Ofcom history, with the watchdog receiving over 57,000 complaints.
However, six months later, the media regulator has said that while Piers’ comments were “potentially harmful and offensive”, they did not violate their code.
“This was a finely-balanced decision,” an Ofcom rep said on Wednesday morning. “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.”
They added: “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.”
A summary of the Ofcom ruling said: “This programme focused on the interview between Oprah Winfrey and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
“It contained statements about suicide and mental health which had the potential to be harmful and highly offensive.
“However, our decision is that overall the programme contained sufficient challenge to provide adequate protection and context to its viewers. We also considered that the comments about race in the programme could have been potentially highly offensive, but that the comments were sufficiently contextualised. Therefore, our decision is that the programme did not breach the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.”
Piers tweeted shortly after the news that ITV had been cleared: “This is a resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios. Do I get my job back?”
That night, it was confirmed that he would not be returning to GMB.
In the six months since his departure, his former co-host Susanna Reid has been joined by an array of guest presenters including Richard Madeley, Bill Turnbull and Alastair Campbell.