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ITV Handed Ofcom Warning After Piers Morgan Mocks Chinese Language

ITV Handed Ofcom Warning After Piers Morgan Mocks Chinese Language

ITV has been issued an Ofcom warning after receiving more than 1,600 complaints about Piers Morgan.


The controversial TV host imitated a Chinese advertisement on Good Morning Britain back in January, as he spoke about the Queen's grandson Peter Phillips starring in a milk commercial.

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"At the next royal event, can you imagine Christmas at Sandringham is like - 'I'm sorry your majesty, but I only drink yang yank yong ying ming milk," he said.

As Susanna Reid reprimanded him, he went on: "I don't know the Chinese for 'I only drink...' What's it called? Ching chang cho jo."

Naturally, Susanna put her head in her hands as her co-host host did the impression, and immediately snapped: "You can't say that... taking the mickey out of foreign languages is rather 1970s."

Piers Morgan did an impression of the Chinese language (Credit: ITV)
Piers Morgan did an impression of the Chinese language (Credit: ITV)
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However, Piers retorted: "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."

Speaking about the incident, Ofcom this week revealed that it had received more than 1,600 complaints from viewers at home.

Accepting Susanna had done her bit to interject, the TV watchdog went on to confirm that they would not be taking things any further.

"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," they explained.

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"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.

Peter Phillips starred in the advertisement Piers was mocking (Credit: ITV)
Peter Phillips starred in the advertisement Piers was mocking (Credit: ITV)

"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."

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The comments caused outrage and fury at the time, with many even calling for Piers to be sacked.

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"Sack him! #ITV ," one viewer wrote.

While another raged: "Piers Morgan need to be sacked and apologise on national TV for the racist comment to Chinese people #ITV #racism #goodmorningbritain".

"#GMB @piersmorgan breaking too many rules, things are different in 2020, you are a dinosaur who needs to learn some new rules @itv @GMB," a third chipped in.


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While they remained quiet at the time, two months after the incident, ITV apologised in a statement. It read: "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."

Acknowledging this, Ofcom added: "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."

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: Good Morning Britain, GMB, ITV, Piers Morgan

Joanna Freedman

Joanna is a journalist at Tyla with a particular interest in highlighting women's issues and telling inspiring first person stories. She's also their resident foodie, and loves covering exciting new beauty launches, too. Contact her at [email protected]