On Monday 8 March, the former Good Morning Britain presenter came under fire when he cast doubt on recent comments made by the Duchess of Duchess about her mental health.
During the live broadcast, Piers and co-host Susanna Reid were shown a clip of Meghan telling Oprah Winfrey 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.”
On Wednesday, this figure was updated to 57,121, with an Ofcom spokesperson stating: “We can confirm that this issue has attracted the highest number of complaints since our reporting began.”
The 2007 series of Celebrity Big Brother previously held the dubious record of being Ofcom’s most complained-about incident, due to the treatment of Shilpa Shetty by fellow housemates Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd.
Dismissing people’s concerns about his comments, Piers tweeted: “Only 57,000? I’ve had more people than that come up & congratulate me in the street for what I said. The vast majority of Britons are right behind me.”
Shortly after Ofcom announced their investigation was going ahead, it was confirmed that Piers was leaving GMB after six years with the breakfast TV show.
Piers insisted the morning after that his departure was “amicable”, but later claimed he had “lost” his job because he’d refused to apologise for his actions.
Ofcom confirmed last week that Meghan Markle was among those to have complained about Piers’ comments, with a rep stating: “We can confirm receipt of a standards complaint made on behalf of the Duchess of Sussex.”
Good Morning Britain airs every weekday from 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).