ENTERTAINMENT
09/03/2021 17:25 GMT | Updated 09/03/2021 23:38 GMT

Ofcom To Investigate Good Morning Britain After 41k Complaints Over Piers Morgan's Meghan Markle Comments

The TV watchdog is launching an investigation under its harm and offence rules.

Ofcom has launched an investigation into Monday’s edition of Good Morning Britain after receiving over 40,000 complaints about Piers Morgan’s comments on Meghan Markle.

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.”

Shutterstock/ITV
Piers Morgan on Monday's Good Morning Britain

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.”

Tuesday’s edition of GMB also saw the divisive presenter storm off set after clashing with his colleague, weather presenter Alex Beresford, during a discussion about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  

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).

CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.

The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email help@themix.org.uk

Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.