Piers Morgan renews war of words with Meghan after Ofcom victory

Piers Morgan renews war of words with Meghan after Ofcom victory
Piers Morgan renews war of words with Meghan after Ofcom victory

Piers Morgan today renewed his war of words with the Sussexes and their supporters after his historic free speech win over Meghan Markle to accuse them of 'continually trashing' the Queen while complaining about the Duchess' mental health.

The journalist was sensationally cleared by Ofcom backed his right to free speech after he said that he 'didn't believe a word' of what Meghan Markle told Oprah and challenged her claims of royal racism and suicidal thoughts.   

The UK's broadcasting watchdog called attempts to silence the MailOnline columnist a 'chilling restriction on freedom of expression' after the Duchess of Sussex was among a wave of people who complained that his questioning of her account of royal racism and suicidal thoughts was 'harmful' and 'offensive' to viewers. 

Royal author Omid Scobie, a friend of the Sussexes who co-wrote the controversial Finding Freedom biography, even suggested that Ofcom could have broken the Human Rights Act because Piers was discrediting a person's mental health issues - a claim dismissed by eminent lawyers.

And hitting back this morning Mr Morgan tweeted a picture of the Queen at her husband's Windsor funeral and said: 'Amid all the debate about Meghan Markle’s mental health, has anyone given a thought for what the Queen’s had to endure this year as the Sussexes have continually trashed her family & the Monarchy while she lost and mourned her beloved husband of 73 years? Just disgraceful'. 

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He spoke out hours after he witnessed Prince Harry use a live video message from his LA mansion to launch a new assault on the media and lecture on inequality. 

Piers Morgan has questioned the debate about Meghan Markle's mental health when the Sussexes did a series of TV interviews damaging to the Royal Family when the Queen was mourning Prince Philip (pictured alone at his funeral)

Piers Morgan has questioned the debate about Meghan Markle's mental health when the Sussexes did a series of TV interviews damaging to the Royal Family when the Queen was mourning Prince Philip (pictured alone at his funeral)

Mr Morgan called the couple's behaviour 'disgraceful' - 24 hours after his historic Ofcom victory

Mr Morgan called the couple's behaviour 'disgraceful' - 24 hours after his historic Ofcom victory

Mr Morgan's ITV colleagues and a string of respected broadcasters hailed Ofcom's ruling confirming his right to free speech after the watchdog dismissed 57,000 complaints about his criticism of Meghan Markle's Oprah interview (above)

Mr Morgan's ITV colleagues and a string of respected broadcasters hailed Ofcom's ruling confirming his right to free speech after the watchdog dismissed 57,000 complaints about his criticism of Meghan Markle's Oprah interview (above)

The Duke of Sussex, dressed in a black tie and tuxedo, used his big screen speech beamed to the GQ Awards in London to blame 'those who peddle in lies and fear' in the 'news media and social media' for vaccine hesitancy. 

Watching was Mr Morgan, who yesterday won a resounding victory for free speech after regulator Ofcom ruled he had not broken the broadcasting code for his comments on the Duchess of Sussex following her bombshell Oprah interview. This morning he tweeted an image of Harry live from California with the hashtag #awks - a nod to his free speech win. 

Harry delivered a chiding speech urging governments to do more to vaccinate poorer countries, warning 'until every community can access the vaccine and until every community is connected to trustworthy information about the vaccine, then we are all at risk'.

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Speaking from his Montecito mansion more than 5,000 miles away, the beleaguered Prince lectured his star-studded London audience on 'media misinformation' and the importance of sharing vaccines. Harry later presented the Heroes of the Year Award to Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Professor Catherine Green and the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

After being invited on the the stage by Harry, Professor Green told the crowd: 'I promised Sarah I wouldn't get too p***ed, and I promised I wouldn't swear, but there was no f***ing chance of that because I'm so starstruck'.

Mr Morgan's ITV colleagues and a string of respected broadcasters hailed Ofcom's ruling confirming his right to free speech after the watchdog dismissed 57,000 complaints about his criticism of Meghan Markle.    Senior British journalists have declared that the judgment meant a 'pillar of our freedom' in the UK had been 'reinforced'.  

The Sussexes did not comment on the judgment, but will have been infuriated by the result given Meghan complained to Ofcom herself and also to Mr Morgan's boss at ITV, Dame Carolyn McCall. Meghan allegedly implored Dame Carolyn her to censure her critic as they were both 'women and mothers'. 

But yesterday Omid Scobie's suggested that Ofcom could have broken the Human Rights Act by clearing Piers Morgan. Critics accused him of being a mouthpiece for the couple.

The watchdog found Good Morning Britain was not in breach of its code after Mr Morgan said that he 'didn't believe a word' of what Meghan told Oprah Winfrey.

But Mr Scobie said he questioned the decision because 'freedom of expression' under the 1998 Act is subject to the restriction of 'protection of health or morals'.

However, a human rights barrister insisted Mr Morgan is not a public authority so is not himself bound by the Human Rights Act, and therefore cannot have breached it.

Adam Wagner, of Doughty Street Chambers in London, added that Ofcom had not breached its duties under the Act after it gave a 'detailed and reasoned' response. 

Mr Morgan himself also weighed in on Mr Scobie's comments on Twitter this afternoon, telling him: 'Pipe down, Lickspittle. You just trashed the Queen in your garbage book without a care for the mental health of a 95-year-old woman grieving the loss of her husband.'

The Duke of Sussex, speaking at a surprise virtual appearance at the GQ Awards at the Tate Modern in London, delivered a lecturing speech urging governments to do more to vaccinate poorer countries

The Duke of Sussex, speaking at a surprise virtual appearance at the GQ Awards at the Tate Modern in London, delivered a lecturing speech urging governments to do more to vaccinate poorer countries

His comments come hours after Piers Morgan, who was in the audience at the GQ awards in London, won a resounding victory for free speech after his wife Meghan complained to Ofcom

His comments come hours after Piers Morgan, who was in the audience at the GQ awards in London, won a resounding victory for free speech after his wife Meghan complained to Ofcom

Prince Harry's surprise GQ Awards speech in full 

Prince Harry blamed 'those who peddle lies and fear' in the news and on social media for vaccine hesitancy

 Prince Harry blamed 'those who peddle lies and fear' in the news and on social media for vaccine hesitancy

'I’m deeply honoured to be introducing our final awardees, who you’ll immediately recognise for their landmark contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

'Our heroes of this evening are Professor Sarah Gilbert, Doctor Catherine Green, and the entire team of dedicated Oxford scientists. 

'Their breakthrough research on the Oxford Vaccine has brought the world one of our greatest tools for achieving vaccine equity.

'They also approached their mission with a humanitarian urgency. In April of last year, the Oxford Team packed up a shipment of research cultures and stealthily sent it to India—an early example of the biotech collaboration we need to bring this global crisis to an end.

'Until every community can access the vaccine, and until every community is connected to trustworthy information about the vaccine, then we are all at risk. 

'That’s a common refrain my wife and I have heard in convenings with vaccine experts, heads of industry, community advocates, and global leaders.

'As people sit in the room with you tonight, more than a third of the global population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

'That’s more than five billion shots given around the world so far. 

'It sounds like a major accomplishment, and in many ways is. 

'But there is a huge disparity between who can and cannot access the vaccine. 

'Less than two percent of people in the developing world have received a single dose at this point, and many of their healthcare workers are still not even vaccinated. 

'We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one.

'At the same time, families around the world are being overwhelmed by mass-scale misinformation across ‘news’ media and social media, where those who peddle in lies and fear are creating vaccine hesitancy, which in turn is dividing communities and eroding trust.

'This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome COVID-19 and the rise of new variants.

'The Oxford Team have done their part. They are heroes of the highest order who gave us an instrument to fight this disease. They are our nation’s pride, and we are deeply indebted to their service.

'For the rest of us—including global governments, pharmaceutical leaders, and heads of business—we have to keep doing our part. 

'That must include sharing vaccine science and supporting and empowering developing countries with more flexibility. 

'Where you’re born should not affect your ability to survive, when the drugs and know-how exist to keep you alive and well.

'Thank you, again, to Professor Gilbert and Doctor Green, who The Guardian called "Two ordinary people who managed to pull off an extraordinary feat while dealing with the everyday stresses that come with being full-time mums and breadwinners in a notoriously insecure and poorly paid field."

'But tonight, we’re not honouring two ordinary people. These are two exceptional people—with a remarkable team—who are a bulwark of humanity.'

 

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And coincidentally Piers was in the audience at the GQ Awards in London last night where the Duke of Sussex delivered his lecture.

Prince Harry told guests: 'As people sit in the room with you tonight, more than a third of the global population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

'That's more than five billion shots given around the world so far.

'It sounds like a major accomplishment and in many ways it is, but there is a huge disparity between who can and cannot access the vaccine.

'Less than 2% of people in the developing world have received a single dose at this point. And many of the healthcare workers are still not vaccinated.

'We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one. At the same time, families around the world are being overwhelmed by masses of misinformation across news media and social media, where those who peddle in lies and fear are creating vaccine hesitancy, which in turn leads to divided communities and eroding trust.

'This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome Covid-19 and the risk of new variants.'

Harry hailed the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, who received the heroes of the year award, as 'heroes of the highest order' who 'have done their part'.

'They are our nation's pride and we are deeply indebted to their service. For the rest of us, including global governments, pharmaceutical leaders and heads of business, we have to keep doing our part,' he said.

'That must include sharing vaccine science and supporting and empowering developing countries with more flexibility. Where you are born should not affect your ability to survive when the drugs and know-how exist to keep you alive and well.'

Within 48 hours of the Oprah interview on March 7 this year, Mr Morgan was forced to quit GMB after he refused to apologise for his 'honestly held opinions', costing ITV around 790,000 viewers and millions more in advertising revenue with the ratings gap between GMB and rival BBC Breakfast still growing. On the day Piers quit, GMB was in the lead. 

Other complainants to Ofcom accused Piers of failing to be 'duly impartial', 'misrepresenting facts' and 'mocking' Meghan's American accent. Complaints that his views on GMB on March 8 and March 9 were unsuitable for children were also thrown out.

The UK's broadcasting watchdog called attempts to silence the MailOnline columnist a 'chilling restriction on freedom of expression' after the Duchess of Sussex was among a wave of people who complained that his questioning of her account of royal racism and suicidal thoughts was 'harmful' and 'offensive' to viewers. 

Ofcom found no rules were breached and backed Mr Morgan's right to 'rigorously challenge' the Duchess's account of suffering suicidal thoughts and claims she experienced racism at the hands of the Royal Family. The decision has led to a flurry of calls demanding he is given his job back, with fans using the hashtag #bringbackpiers claiming the show is 'dying a slow death without him'.

In complete vindication for the journalist, 56, Ofcom ruled: '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'.

And in a damning indictment of his former bosses and the 50,000-plus people who complained, the watchdog found: '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. 

The ruling by Ofcom puts CEO Carolyn McCall – formerly of the left-wing Guardian newspaper - under pressure to explain why she did not stick by Mr Morgan, a decision which has cost the station millions. 

Mr Morgan wrote in a MailOnline column yesterday: 'I'm delighted that Ofcom has so emphatically supported my right to disbelieve the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's incendiary claims to Oprah Winfrey, many of which have since been proved to be untrue. 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?' 

He added in his column: 'I was reliably informed recently that Meghan Markle wrote directly to my ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall the night before I was forced out, demanding my head on a plate.

'Apparently, she stressed that 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 television news programme?'

Mr Morgan, pictured alongside his wife Celia last night, quoted former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his latest Instagram post

Mr Morgan, pictured alongside his wife Celia last night, quoted former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his latest Instagram post

Piers Morgan and Good Morning Britain have been cleared of breaching broadcasting standards over a heated debate about Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview where he said that he didn't 'believe a word she says' on March 8 (pictured)

Piers Morgan and Good Morning Britain have been cleared of breaching broadcasting standards over a heated debate about Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview where he said that he didn't 'believe a word she says' on March 8 (pictured)

Mr Morgan immediately hit back at ITV's statement for ignoring the central thrust of Ofcom's conclusion amid calls for him to be reinstated on their flagship GMB programme

Mr Morgan immediately hit back at ITV's statement for ignoring the central thrust of Ofcom's conclusion amid calls for him to be reinstated on their flagship GMB programme

Is the door ajar for Piers Morgan at GMB? ITV Director of TV Kevin Lygo 'is fighting to REHIRE the presenter' as viewers sign petitions to get him back on air after his tirade at Meghan Markle's Oprah lies was CLEARED by Ofcom

Questions remained last night over whether there is still a 'slim chance' that Piers Morgan could return to host Good Morning Britain after he was triumphantly cleared of breaching broadcasting rules by Ofcom.

The presenter's former ITV colleagues and a string of respected broadcasters yesterday hailed the regulator's ruling confirming his right to free speech after dismissing more than 57,000 complaints about his criticism of

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