British broadcaster Piers Morgan was cleared by the British government’s office of communications following an inquiry into comments he made calling into question claims the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, made in a wide-ranging interview with Oprah Winfrey — specifically claims that Markle experienced racism from the royal family and was prevented from getting help for suicidal thoughts while she was pregnant.
Morgan subsequently quit his post on “Good Morning Britain” over the comments and after “an orchestrated social media campaign spearheaded by his ‘woke’ critics including several Labour MPs, who accused him of racism, sexism and mocking suicide,” the Daily Mail reported.
Markle herself is believed to be one of those who complained to the government about Morgan’s comment that he did not “believe a word” Markle said to Winfrey.
Markle claimed, in the interview, that a senior royal questioned whether her son with Prince Harry, Archie, would have a darker skin tone, and claimed that Archie was denied the royal title, “prince,” because he was mixed race. Members of the royal family and palace aides denied the first claim; the second was proven false. Archie was denied the title of “prince” as a result of early 20th century letters patent issued well before Archie — or Meghan, or Queen Elizabeth — was born. An exception was carved out for Prince William’s children because they are in direct line of succession to the British throne.
Markle also claimed that she was denied help for suicidal thoughts she had while heavily pregnant with Archie. Although there has been little comment on that matter, critics have pointed out that Harry, his brother William, the Duke of Cambridge, and his sister-in-law, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, have all spoken bluntly on the subject of mental health and, together, formed a mental health charity. Harry claims to have been in therapy for years, raising questions of how his own wife could be denied treatment.
Wednesday, “Ofcom” agreed that Morgan’s comments, while controversial, were not criminal.
“Mr. Morgan’s comments were potentially harmful and offensive to viewers, and we recognize the strong public reaction to them. But we also took full account of freedom of expression. Under our rules, broadcasters can include controversial opinions as part of legitimate debate in the public interest, and the strong challenge to Mr. Morgan from other contributors provided important context for viewers,” the entity said in a statement.
“Nonetheless, we’ve reminded ITV to take greater care around content discussing mental health and suicide in future. ITV might consider the use of timely warnings or signposting of support services to ensure viewers are properly protected,” Ofcom continued.
Morgan responded to the decision on Twitter, demanding his job back and labeling Meghan “Princess Pinocchios.”
“I’m delighted OFCOM has endorsed my right to disbelieve the Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s incendiary claims to Oprah Winfrey, many of which have proven to be untrue. This is a resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios. Do I get my job back?” he said.
A previous version of this article stated that Piers Morgan was fired from Good Morning Britain. He quit from Good Morning Britain.
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