*Fallout continues to follow the live TV unraveling of Piers Morgan following his disparaging comments about Meghan Markle, particularly her statement about mental health.
Just before he quit “Good Morning Britain” Tuesday, U.K. media regulator Ofcom launched an investigation after more than 41,000 people wrote in to complain about his remarks dismissing Meghan’s mental health comments during her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Morgan said he didn’t believe Markle’s account of approaching people in the Royal “institution” for help after she had suicidal thoughts, only to be turned down. He said on Monday’s show: “Who did you go to? What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report.” (See video below.)
Ofcom had received 41,015 complaints about Morgan’s comments by 2 p.m. U.K. time on Tuesday. An Ofcom spokesperson told Variety: “We have launched an investigation into Monday’s episode of ‘Good Morning Britain’ under our harm and offence rules.”
As previously reported, Morgan quit “GMB” late Tuesday after two days of tumult culminated with his storming off the set in a huff during Tuesday’s live broadcast. The walk-off followed a heated exchange with biracial weatherman Alex Beresford, who supported Markle. British tabloid The Sun reported that Morgan, a permanent fixture on the program since 2015, exited after ITV brass asked him to apologize on air and he refused. ITV declined to verify the report.
Morgan later returned to the show and said: “When we talked about this yesterday, I said, as an all encompassing thing, I don’t believe what Meghan Markle is saying generally in this interview and I still have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what she said. But let me just state for the record on my position on mental illness and on suicide. These are clearly extremely serious things and should be taken extremely seriously and if someone is feeling that way they should get the treatment and the help they need every time. And if they belong to an institution like the Royal family and they go and seek that help they should absolutely be given it.”
“It’s not for me to question if she felt suicidal, I am not in her mind and that is for her to say,” he added. “My real concern was a disbelief frankly… that she went to a senior member of the Royal household and told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family. If that is true a) that person should be fired and b) the Royal family have serious questions that need to be answered.”
Meanwhile, Variety is reporting that Markle “is believed” to have filed a formal complaint to ITV over Morgan’s comments about her mental health.
Variety reports that Markle wrote to ITV CEO Carolyn McCall on Monday, raising concerns over how Morgan’s words would affect the mental health dialogue in the U.K. and may even impact someone contemplating suicide.
Both ITV and Markle’s representatives declined to comment on the matter.
A peak of 12.3 million viewers tuned into the Oprah interview on ITV. Buckingham Palace on Tuesday responded to the allegations of racism made in the interview, noting that the “whole family was saddened” to learn the “full extent” of the pair’s trials in the U.K. and the matter will be addressed in private.