Piers Morgan’s comments on Meghan lead to record year for TV complaints
Complaints to Ofcom have risen 124% this year, in part because of Piers Morgan’s comments about the Duchess of Sussex on Good Morning Britain.
The March show was the most criticized TV episode of 2021, prompting 54,595 complaints to the media watchdog.
Morgan has said he doesn’t believe Meghan’s claims about her mental health, made during her interview with Oprah Winfrey. After clashing with a co-host, Morgan left the program for good.
Responding to the Twitter announcement, he said: “Delighted to have perpetrated the most criticized moment on UK television for 2021 … especially because every one of the absurd complaints has been dismissed.”
It was a banner year for complaints, with more than 150,000 filed with Ofcom. The total figure did not include complaints about the BBC, which are dealt with primarily by the company.
Adam Baxter, Director of Standards and Public Protection at Ofcom, said: âInterestingly, it’s a relatively small number of TV shows that get the lion’s share; the five most criticized programs account for 80% of all complaints.
âSocial media – a digital home for modern conversations about water coolers – is also having its influence on complaint numbers.
“But to me these volumes demonstrate the British public’s interest and passion for television and radio programs, and how important they are to the cultural fabric of our nation.”
ITV’s Love Island was in second place thanks to an August episode, in which contestant Faye Winter delivered a long burst of profanity at partner Teddy Soares, sparking 24,921 complaints.
The couple had an explosive argument after the islanders played a clip of Soares telling another contestant, Clarisse Juliette, who had since been eliminated, that he was attracted to her.
In third place, Celebrities: What Happened To Your Face on Channel 5, which examined plastic surgery in celebrity culture, with 7,125 complaints about remarks made about the appearances of a number of stars featured in the program. .
Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Winfrey, which aired on ITV in March, was the fourth most criticized show of the year, with a total of 6,486 complaints.
In that program, the Sussexes initially accused the royal family of not supporting them, claimed royal assistants refused to help Meghan when she was troubled by suicidal thoughts and said a relative did a racist comment about their son’s skin color.
Love Island also delivered the fifth most-criticized episode of the year.
The arrival of a postcard from rival villa Casa Amor to the main villa on the ITV show sparked 4,337 complaints to Ofcom.
The postcard showed the show’s male contestants in compromising circumstances with a new girl group, though many are already paired.
Mr Baxter said the high number of complaints doesn’t necessarily mean the rules were broken.
He said: ‘The judgments we make each day are often finely balanced – like our most publicized case this year: Piers Morgan’s comments on Good Morning Britain following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“But, given the importance of the right to free speech, we only intervene or take action against a broadcaster when we deem it necessary.”
Ofcom this year concluded 33 investigations and recorded 20 violations, many of which involved hate speech or misinformation about coronaviruses.
BBC figures were not included in the tally, but society’s coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death in April drew 110,000 complaints in a week – the highest number ever released in the UK on television programming.
The most criticized programs of 2021:
1. Morgan’s comments on Meghan’s mental health on Good Morning Britain (54,595) 2. Faye Winter’s Cursed Explosion to Teddy Soares on Love Island (24 921) 3. Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan (6,486) 4. Notes on Famous Personalities on Celebrities: What Happened To Your Face (7125) 5. The postcard from Casa Amor on Love Island (4.337) 6. A discussion on the number of unvaccinated people hospitalized in Lorraine (3,769) 7. Discussion between Morgan and Alex Beresford on Good Morning Britain (3,249) 8. Dr Hilary Jones criticizes bogus Covid-19 information leaflet on Good Morning Britain (2.632) 9. A segment from Good Morning Britain titled: “Ditching Unvaccinated Friends?” “(2 104) 10. A segment from this morning titled: “How to lose the pounds of confinement” (1942)