Piers Morgan cleared by Ofcom over criticism of Meghan Markle

Piers Morgan cleared by Ofcom over criticism of Meghan Markle

PIERS MORGAN has been cleared of any wrongdoing over comments he made about Meghan Markle following her interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year.

UK broadcasting watchdog Ofcom described attempts to silence the former Good Morning Britain (GMB) host as a "chilling restriction on freedom of expression", following a wave of over 50,000 complaints which ultimately saw Morgan lose his job at ITV.

Meghan Markle is understood to have personally got in touch with ITV bosses to complain that Morgan's questioning of her account of racism inside the royal household, as well as her claims of having suicidal thoughts was "harmful" and "offensive" to viewers.

Morgan was offered the opportunity to apologise for his comments live on air, but refused and decided to resign instead.

In a statement, the watchdog said: "Ofcom is clear that, 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."

They added that their Broadcasting 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."

Speaking to the Daily Mail following Ofcom's announcement, Morgan declared: "This is a resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios. In light of this decision, do I get my job back?"

ITV CEO Dame Carolyn McCall is now under pressure to explain why she tried to suppress Morgan's free speech so readily.

Back in March, Markle sat down alongside her husband Prince Harry to conduct an interview with their pal Oprah, delving into their infamous exit from the royal family.

During their chat, Meghan and Harry dropped a number of 'bombshells' including - most notably - accusing an unnamed member of royal family of making a racist comment about their unborn baby Archie's skin colour.

The following day, Morgan addressed many of the claims made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on GMB, saying he "didn't believe a word" that came out of Meghan's mouth.

Critics of Morgan accused him of a racially motivated attack on Meghan, while supporters insisted that - as a journalist - he had every right not to believe her side of the story.

"I wasn't going to apologise for disbelieving Meghan Markle, because the truth is that I don't believe Meghan Markle," Morgan wrote in a column for the Daily Mail.

"And in a free democratic society, I should be allowed not to believe someone, and to say that I don't believe them. That, surely, is the very essence of freedom of speech? If I said I now believed Meghan, I would be lying to the audience, the very thing I've accused her of doing."

In the weeks following, over a dozen claims made by Meghan and Harry were proven to either be false - such as their claim that they were married in a secret ceremony by the Archbishop of Canterbury a few days before their official royal wedding, which the Archbishop has denied - or to be completely unverifiable.