ITV had faced widespread calls to axe the divisive presenter after he cast doubt on Meghan’s revelation during her interview with Oprah Winfrey that she had experienced suicidal thoughts after joining the Royal Family.
TV watchdog Ofcom has now confirmed it has received 41,015 complaints on the matter.
Announcing an investigation, a spokesperson said: “We have launched an investigation into Monday’s episode of Good Morning Britain under our harm and offence rules.”
During her interview, Meghan had told Oprah of a time she “didn’t want to be alive anymore”, before adding: “I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. And I said that I’d never felt this way before. I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn’t, because it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
The following morning, Piers said: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she says.”
While co-presenter Susanna Reid shared her shock at Piers’ lack of sympathy, he continued: “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.”
ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall confirmed on Tuesday that bosses were in conversation with Piers about his conduct.
She told reporters on an earnings conference call (via The Hollywood Reporter): “I haven’t spoken to Piers myself, but I know Kevin Lygo [ITV managing director for media and entertainment] is speaking to him on a regular basis and has done so the last couple of days.”
Asked if Piers would lose his job or if she was backing him, she added: “We are dealing with that as we speak. I’m not making any comments on this.”
Piers’ comments have also been condemned by mental health charity Mind, who said it was “in conversations” with ITV about it.
The charity, who work with the broadcaster on its Britain Get Talking initiative, said in a statement: “We were disappointed and concerned to see Piers Morgan’s comments on not believing Meghan’s experiences about suicidal thoughts today.
“It’s vital that when people reach out for support or share their experiences of ill mental health that they are treated with dignity, respect and empathy. We are in conversations with ITV about this at the moment.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.
Useful websites and helplines
Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).