- Piers Morgan said on-air that he did not believe Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview.
- It sparked record complaints, but the UK’s media regulator just cleared him.
- It said Morgan’s comments were “consistent with freedom of expression.”
Piers Morgan has been cleared by the UK’s media regulator for comments he made about Meghan Markle’s mental health, which sparked almost 60,000 complaints.
Ofcom, the regulator, said that Morgan’s comments did not break its code, the BBC reported.
Morgan had said on ITV News that he did not believe what Markle said in her interview with Oprah Winfrey, which was aired in March. Morgan’s comments sparked 57,793 complaints to Ofcom — the highest in its history, the BBC noted.
Morgan said he was “delighted” with the ruling, and said it was “a resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios,” according to the BBC.
Ofcom said its decision was “finely balanced,” and that ITV had “provided adequate protection to viewers from potentially harmful and highly offensive statements about mental health and suicide.”
Morgan quit his role at ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” after his comments about Markle.
Ofcom said, according to the BBC: “Consistent with freedom of expression, Mr Morgan was entitled to say he disbelieved the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s allegations and to hold and express strong views that rigorously challenged their account.
“The code allows for individuals to express strongly held and robustly argued views, including those that are potentially harmful or highly offensive, and for broadcasters to include these in their programming.
“The restriction of such views would, in our view, be an unwarranted and chilling restriction on freedom of expression both of the broadcaster and the audience.”