PIERS Morgan last night hailed his free speech win over the Duchess of Sussex and insisted he would not be silenced by the “Queen of Woke”.
The ex-GMB host was yesterday cleared by Ofcom after accusing Meghan of making up claims in her and husband Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey that a senior royal had been racist, and that Meghan’s mental health had suffered.
Piers, 56, quit in March after ITV bosses tried to force him to publicly apologise to the Duchess.
But the TV watchdog ruled in his favour after rejecting a record 58,000 complaints — including one from Meghan.
Piers called her a “whiny, forked-tongue actress” and said the report was a “resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchio”.
He told The Sun: “The woke brigade think they can vilify, shame, silence and get fired anyone who has an opinion they don’t like.
“Meghan Markle is the queen of this culture, who personally sought to have me lose my job — and succeeded.
“Why are she and Prince Harry entitled to have their opinion but I’m not entitled to mine?”
In an exclusive interview, the telly star told how he was furious at being called racist for disbelieving claims made by the Duchess.
Piers told The Sun: “This is a woman who smeared the Royal Family when Prince Philip was ill in hospital and later died.
“She is a woman who has caused the Queen appalling, extra aggravation as she buried her husband.
“And for me to be accused of being racist for simply disbelieving two people — who we now know said many untrue things in that Oprah interview — is outrageous.
“Absolutely nothing I’ve ever said about Meghan Markle has anything to do with the colour of her skin. That slur made me very angry.”
He added: “This cancel culture is a form of fascism that has to end.
“I intend to continue leading the campaign against this insidious cancel culture, and to promote freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
The woke brigade think they can vilify, shame, silence and get fired anyone who has an opinion they don’t like.
“I am not supporting anyone who is bigoted in any way — anyone racist, homophobic or transphobic.
“But I am supporting the right of people to have their own opinions and not be shamed into losing jobs for holding honestly held opinions.
“This is a landmark ruling in the battle for freedom of speech in the battle against woke cancel culture.”
Piers had questioned Meghan’s claims about her mental health, a lack of support from the in-laws and allegations that a senior royal had quizzed her over “how dark” son Archie’s skin might be.
During GMB’s show on March 9, Piers told viewers: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she says.
“I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report. The fact she has expressed an onslaught against our Royal Family is contemptible.”
He briefly walked off set after clashing with weather presenter Alex Beresford and was later criticised by mental health charity Mind.
Hours later, ITV’s royal editor Chris Ship told how Meghan, 40, had formally filed a complaint to ITV’s CEO, ex-Guardian boss Dame Carolyn McCall.
The presenter resigned from his job of six years shortly afterwards, saying “freedom of speech was a hill I’m happy to die on”.
Ofcom said the complaints mainly focused on his comments about mental health, suicide and race.
Some viewers also attacked him for failing to be “duly impartial”, “misrepresenting facts” and “mocking” Meghan’s US accent.
The presenter also received 802 messages of support, it said.
The regulator said part of its ruling was “finely balanced” because of his treatment of Meghan’s “suicidal thoughts” and warned ITV it needed to take care in future.
This cancel culture is a form of fascism that has to end.
It added it was “particularly concerned” about his approach and “apparent disregard for the seriousness of anyone expressing” similar views. But Ofcom said the star had been robustly challenged by co-host Susanna Reid and Mr Ship.
That meant his comments were “sufficiently contextualised” and not in breach of rules on discussing mental health and suicide.
Ofcom said its code “allows for individuals to express strongly held and robustly argued views, including those that are potentially harmful or highly offensive”.
It added: “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.”
Piers also slammed Dame Carolyn, 59, for caving in to Meghan.
He blasted yesterday: “Apparently, Meghan stressed she was writing to Dame Carolyn personally because they were both women and mothers — a nauseating playing of the gender and maternity card if ever there was one.
“What has the world come to when a whiny fork-tongued actress can dictate who presents a morning TV news programme?”
ITV chiefs held a series of meetings in the wake of the ruling.
Last night a GMB insider said: “ITV are in turmoil. They had crisis talks yesterday, trying to get Piers back on the show in an effort to boost ratings and end the commercial slide for the broadcaster.
“The majority of senior execs disagreed vehemently with Piers being forced out — they’re livid at how the situation was handled.”
Piers, who says he has been “bombarded” with TV offers, insists he would only return to GMB if he receives a “full and public apology”.
His wife, writer Celia Walden, appears on the show today to discuss her new thriller, Payday.
‘Meg, put up or shut up’
PIERS demanded Meghan and Harry “put up or shut up” over claims a senior royal asked them how dark son Archie’s skin would be.
He said: “If you believe somebody made a racist comment about your son, tell us who it was. Stop hiding behind this cloak of cowardice.”
Piers also cited Sun columnist Jeremy Clarkson’s suggestion that the person who made the comments might not have even been a royal. He said: “That needs to be urgently clarified.”
17 dodgiest delusions
PIERS Morgan set out 17 claims Meghan made that he said were “completely untrue or massively exaggerated or unprovable”.
We look at them.
- Couple secretly married three days before official wedding. Wedding certificate and Archbishop of Canterbury proved this was untrue.
- Royal Family refused Archie’s birthright to be a prince. Only royal offspring in direct line of succession can be made prince.
- She never researched Harry or looked into monarchy. Finding Freedom authors said Meghan thoroughly Googled Harry. And one old pal said she was fascinated by the royals.
- Netflix deal not part of couple’s post- Megxit plan. Meghan was in talks with Netflix in 2018 about an animated TV series.
- Had not seen her sister Samantha for 18/19 years. A picture shows them together at Samantha’s graduation in 2008.
- Had passport removed and was unable to “just leave”. After meeting Harry, Meghan jetted off on 13 holidays.
- Claimed she was silenced by the Royal Family. She made 73 public appearances as a working royal and gave TV interviews.
- Paper withheld story on her dad until just before her wedding. The Mail on Sunday only published when it secured vital evidence.
- Press created news about her dad to build up drama. Thomas, 76, says he spoke to the Press only after Meghan cut him off.
- Royal Press team did not defend her when she appeared in news. They launched two Ipso complaints, winning one and losing the other.
- Family security was removed despite fears for their safety. Round-the-clock security is provided only to working royals.
- She was banned from going to lunch with her friends. She was often seen out and about in Kensington.
- No training on how to be a member of the Royal Family. Meghan was sent on SAS training to deal with potential kidnapping and given informal training on royal life.
- Cosy parties at the palace between royals and Press. These just do not exist. Journos sometimes invited for a pre-tour get-together.
- Concerns raised by a royal about Archie’s skin colour. Meghan has refused to name the royal. Her story also differs from Harry’s.
- Ignored when she asked for mental health support. Meghan is said to have had help from a former confidante of Princess Diana and had her own therapist.
- Kate made her cry during a bridesmaid dress fitting. Original story said Meghan made Kate cry, and journalist sticks by her sources.