There were more than 150,000 complaints to the regulator in 2021, Ofcom said today, more than one-third of which (54,595) came after Morgan’s rejection of Markle’s suicide claims during her interview with Oprah Winfrey, when he stated: “I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report.”
The affair caused Morgan to storm off set the following day and very soon after he left the program. Ofcom cleared ITV of any wrongdoing over his comments in September after taking “full account of freedom of expression.”
The Oprah interview, which also aired on ITV, attracted almost 6,500 complaints to Ofcom and was the fourth most-complained about show of the year, just ahead of an episode of Love Island.
Second to Morgan was a different episode of Love Island that attracted 24,921 complaints and third was Channel 5’s Celebrities: What’s Happened To Your Face?.
These five episodes accounted for 80% of all complaints and Ofcom Standards Director Adam Baxter put the huge increase down to social media and “the British public’s interest and passion for TV and radio programmes.
“It shows just how important they are to the cultural fabric of our nation,” added Baxter.
Ofcom said it had concluded 33 investigations this year, with 20 breaches of rules recorded.
The regulator is not required to investigate shows it receives complaints about and the BBC has a separate complaints department, although these can make their way to Ofcom further down the line.