Piers Morgan apologises to Ofcom after asking followers for support after bullying complaints

Danny Thompson
British journalist Piers Morgan arrives for the 2019 British Academy Britannia (BAFTA) awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills on October 25, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Piers Morgan has apologised to Ofcom in a barbed Twitter exchange after his followers bombarded the TV watchdog in support of the Good Morning Britain presenter.

Morgan has been using his position on the morning show to grill MPs about the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic - but his abrasive style has been landing him in hot water with viewers.

Last week the 55-year-old questioned care minister Helen Whately on two separate, though equally fiery occasions, which combined prompted almost 3,000 viewer complaints to Ofcom.

Read more: Piers Morgan and minister Helen Whately in heated on-air row over coronavirus testing 'failure'

The pair clashed as he questioned her as to why so few people in care homes had been tested amid reports thousands of people had already died, but his style proved too much for some viewers.

After the first interview, Morgan tweeted: "Apparently nearly 2000 people have now complained to @Ofcom about me grilling Care minister Helen Whateley too 'unfairly' when she couldn't answer even basic questions.

"If you think I should continue grilling ministers in the way I've been doing, please tell @OFCOM. Thanks."

But the request for followers to “tell Ofcom” has seen a huge spike in people contacting the watchdog, who were forced to ask Morgan to lay off.

They tweeted: "Dear Piers, We’re usually happy with you keeping us busy. But right now we’re struggling to keep up after you asked your followers to contact us.

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"This means we may fail to help the people that need us most – such as the vulnerable or elderly.

"So could you please help us out and go easy on the mentions? Any help appreciated."

Morgan replied to apologise, though he managed to shoe-horn in a not so subtle humble-brag at his apparent popularity.

He tweeted: "My apologies... I underestimated the scale of public support."

One exchange with Whately saw Morgan ask: “We're actually testing less people yesterday than we tested 12 days ago, which I would argue is a spectacular failure. What would you call it?”

Read more: Coronavirus: Piers Morgan apologises to Lady Gaga after One World concert raises over £100m for WHO

As Whately responded by saying the government was “working hard to ramp up the testing capacity in the country”, Morgan cut in, saying: “I don't want to hear about your ramping up. You're not ramping it up.

“I just told you, you did 18,000 tests yesterday and that is less than you did 12 days ago. So when you keep saying you're ramping things up, actually you're not – you’re going backwards.”

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV from 6am.