Complaints pour in over UK presenter’s comments on Meghan

National/World

British television host Piers Morgan laughs as he speaks to reporters outside his home in Kensington, central London, Wednesday March 10, 2021. Morgan quit the “Good Morning Britain” program on Tuesday after making controversial comments about the Duchess of Sussex. The U.K.’s media watchdog said earlier Tuesday it was launching an investigation into the show under its harm and offense rules after receiving more than 41,000 complaints about Morgan’s comments on Meghan. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, complained to Britain’s ITV about presenter Piers Morgan’s comments on her interview with Oprah Winfrey, the channel’s news operation reported.

The U.K.’s communications regulator has received more than 41,000 complaints about Monday’s edition of Good Morning Britain, during which Morgan said he didn’t believe anything Meghan said during the two-hour interview she and Prince Harry gave to Winfrey.

Meghan told Winfrey that she was so miserable during her time as a working member of the royal family that she had suicidal thoughts. When she asked for help from the royal family’s human resources staff, she was told they couldn’t help her because she wasn’t a paid employee, Meghan said.

The interview, which also included allegations of racism and insensitivity, has divided opinions. While many people back Meghan, who is biracial, others have criticized the couple for making their damning comments at a time when Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather, Prince Philip, remains hospitalized in London after a heart procedure.

ITV did not cite a source acknowledging Meghan’s complaint. Britain’s Press Association also reported the matter, without citing a source.

The duchess’ representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mind, a U.K. mental health charity, said Monday it had contacted ITV about Morgan’s comments, adding that it is crucial for people who speak out about mental health issues to be treated with “dignity, respect and empathy.”

ITV responded with a statement saying, “It is very important that if anyone has suicidal thoughts that they should always speak out and be listened to.”

During Tuesday’s broadcast, Morgan, a tabloid editor turned TV commentator, clarified his previous comments about mental illness and suicide. These are “extremely serious things” and people should get the treatment they need, he said.

But later in the program when Alex Beresford, the weather presenter on the show, criticized Morgan’s treatment of Meghan, Morgan walked off the set saying, “Sorry, can’t do this.”

“This is absolutely diabolical behavior,” Beresford said as Morgan left. “I’m sorry, but Piers spouts off on a regular basis and we all have to sit there and listen.”

A few hours later, ITV announced that Morgan had decided to leave Good Morning Britain.

Morgan said Wednesday morning that his departure from ITV was “amicable,” but he said everyone should be allowed to express their opinions.

“If people want to believe Meghan Markle, that’s entirely their right,” he said, using Meghan’s maiden name.

“I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth, and I think the damage she’s done to the British monarchy and to the queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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