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ITV Gets Ofcom Warning After Piers Morgan Mocked The Chinese Language

ITV Gets Ofcom Warning After Piers Morgan Mocked The Chinese Language

Ofcom has issued a warning to ITV after more than 1,600 complaints were made following on from Piers Morgan's imitation of a Chinese advertisement.

Back in January, the 55-year-old Good Morning Britain host mimicked the Chinese language as he mocked the Queen's grandson Peter Phillips' milk advertisement.

In doing so, he took it upon himself to mimic the voiceover on the advertisement, saying: "I don't know the Chinese for 'I only drink...' What's it called? Ching chang cho jo."

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Off the back of the comments, Ofcom received more than 1,600 complaints, but will not be taking the matter any further.

In a statement, they explained: "It was legitimate for Piers Morgan to question Peter Phillips' decision to appear in an advertisement for Chinese state milk and to use satire and ridicule in doing so."

Peter Phillips' advertisement. Credit: ITV/Good Morning Britain
Peter Phillips' advertisement. Credit: ITV/Good Morning Britain

The statement went on: "However, part of Piers Morgan's mockery included three attempts to mimic the Chinese language, including using the phrase 'ching chang'. As ITV has itself acknowledged, this phrase is recognised as a racist trope aimed specifically at people of Chinese heritage.

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"Our recently published research indicates that audiences have a particular concern about content which is discriminatory. In our view, the use of the phrase and variations of it had the potential to be particularly offensive to viewers."

At the time of the comments, Morgan's co-host Susanna Reid said: "You can't say that," before adding: "Taking the mickey out of foreign languages is rather 1970s." She then asks: "Do you not realise the kind of woke times we're living in?"

He argued back to his co-host: "I can't repeat what they're saying in the ad. I cant speak Chinese! I'm trying to mimic the wording of that advertisement."

Susanna Reid was shocked at the remarks. Credit: ITV/Good Morning Britain
Susanna Reid was shocked at the remarks. Credit: ITV/Good Morning Britain
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Referring to these interjections, Ofcom added: "We accepted this was an attempt by Susanna Reid to point out that some viewers would find his imitation offensive.

"Having carefully considered the context within which the comments were broadcast and the action taken by ITV, including discussing these complaints with Piers Morgan and making a public apology, Ofcom concluded overall that this programme did not warrant further investigation under rule 2.3 of the Code."

The exchange between John Barnes and Piers Morgan. Credit: Twitter
The exchange between John Barnes and Piers Morgan. Credit: Twitter

One of the first to criticise Morgan at the time was John Barnes, former Liverpool and England footballer, who took to Twitter writing: "Just saw @piersmorgan on GMB mocking Chinese people on the way they speak, what are the odds he faces no criticism for it... there's an example for Laurence Fox of white privilege."

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To which Morgan responded: "I was mocking a member of the British royal family appearing in an advert for Chinese state milk, not Chinese people."

While someone else added: "Oh @piersmorgan you're digging yourself a hole man. Why are you mocking the Chinese language on live tv?? Tut tut #GMB."

But jumping to Piers' defence, another commented: "Let's make it clear that mocking Chinese people on the way they speak is perfectly fine. I'm sure they'd be mocking the Geordies and Scousers. It's all good fun."

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Two months after the incident, ITV said in a statement: "GMB is known for its lively and robust discussion of the news agenda and recently covered Peter Phillips' appearance in a Chinese milk advertisement.

"The discussion was focused on whether it was appropriate for members of the Royal family to endorse products abroad in this manner, and was live and unscripted. Piers Morgan's comments, and his mimicking of the Chinese language in the advertisement, was a spontaneous reaction to the advertisement."

"These comments were intended to mock a member of the Royal Family and were not intended to mock or denigrate Chinese people, their language or accent.

"ITV regrets any offence Piers' comments may unintentionally have caused."

Featured Image Credit: ITV/Good Morning Britain

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Piers Morgan

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Rebecca Shepherd

I'm Becky - a journalist at LADbible. I graduated with a First Class BA in Journalism before going on to cover criminal court cases, medical tribunals and breaking news for the national media - which inevitably and eventually became as glum as it sounds. Can often be found rocking a bag for life - which I made a 'thing' way before Rihanna. You can contact me at [email protected]